I feel sad when a person who is mentally ill and probably at the lowest point in their life that they and their family are fearful of social stigma and are worried about ‘What are people going to say?’
When will this attitude become obsolete in our culture/religion? What does it matter what others think? They are not paying our bills nor putting food on our table so why should we care? We are hostages to our own ideas of failure and this is reaffirmed by negative talk from outsiders.
Do the outsiders ever think how hard it is for a person who is hearing voices to get out of bed and motivate themselves to do something positive that day when the voices inside their head is telling them ‘Go kill yourself as nobody cares about you anyway?’
Do outsiders ever think what anguish the parents are going through seeing their child not eating, not sleeping, not staying clean or even talking and behaving coherently and sensibly? How does a parent feel when they see their child self-harming? Do outsiders ever think that they are lucky not to be going through it themselves?
What must it feel like when someone you love, who is already vulnerable due to mental illness, goes missing? Where are they? Are they safe? Are they even alive? This is not a trivial situation; the emotional impact on the family when faced with tough challenges like this is difficult to comprehend.
Is it too much for the outsiders to stop judging and show some support or offer an encouraging word to the sufferer or their family?
“Mental illness not only affects the sufferer but also their family”
We need to look after each other, we need to lift up one another when things are too much to cope with; we need understanding and empathy not social stigma.
Each victim of mental illness has their own story to tell. We should not see them as a blight on society to be shunned and hidden from sight.
Mental illness not only affects the sufferer but also their family. It can even break up families. The untold hurt each member of the family feels and the strain it causes on everyone’s relationship is seldom discussed.
The Reality is Harsh
It changes people forever and often they can never go back to who they were originally. The worst part for some is that mental illness is recurring. Some of these people do not have anybody they can confide in or even talk to about what they are experiencing.
The truth is, you will only know what it feels like once you have been through it yourself so you should reach out to help others who are suffering.
Any act of kindness goes a long way and it might even inspire a change in someone. You might be the reason someone wants to get better, due to offering an encouraging word or something you have done to push them in the right direction.
Do not under-estimate yourself and what effect you may have, particularly on someone who is looking for a reason to live, a reason to get their life back.