How do we as humans define mental illness? In hearing other people talk it appears that some define a mental illness as thinking that the person is totally unable to function in society at all. And that if a person can function in society then they must not have a mental illness. I have always thought of a mental illness as being when a person’s mind did not work correctly and caused the person to think, feel and or behave differently than the average person. Some people can function better in certain areas than others, meaning that a person might do better in a work situation than in a social one, or it could be the other way around. Some people might be able to hold it together while in public however once at home fall apart and not able to handle much of anything. If we look up mental illness at dictionary.com it says: any disorder that causes the person to feel, think or act in a way that is abnormal to a point where it causes harm to them or others is considered a mental illness http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mental+illness.
Why is it that when mental illness is mentioned people pull away from you? As if one could actually catch a mental illness from another person. Why is a person doubted if they say they have a family member who suffers with a mental illness just because no one (meaning society) has seen the other side of that person? There are many different types of mental illnesses and each one can cause a person to function differently in many situations. There are some mental illnesses that no one would ever know a person has, until that person was overwhelmed by a situation or their stress level reached the maximum level. Then the person you thought you knew would change right before your eyes. Would you still be friends with them once that happened? Would you stand by them and defend them to other people who now where making fun of them and shunning them or would you be one of those people too?
Mental illness can strike anyone at any age, yes there are some that are at a higher risk of having to deal with a mental illness than others but it can strike any one, family history or not. I am not an expert on mental illness. I am not a doctor, a therapist or even a counselor I am just a single mother of three children two of which suffer from a form of mental illness. My goal through these posts is to share my experience with you. My hope is that if you, yourself or someone you know may be dealing with a family member who has a mental illness. That you now know you are not alone that there is someone here who understands and can relate to you. With my next post I will try to start to explain our journey, please bear with me, this is a very personal journey and one that I would not have made it thus far in without God.