I had a good weekend. I spent time with Larry and my kitties. I read one great book and started another. I did some chores around the house. I took some photos. I did some organizing and planning on paper. I napped. I relaxed.
Yes, a good weekend.
I’m grateful for good times like this, for each new day that brings opportunities to be productive and enjoy those I love.
And I’m grateful that I can still enjoy the things in life that so many of you enjoy despite having mental illnesses.
This week (October 6-12) is Mental Illness Awareness Week, promoted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
I want to take this opportunity to speak out in support of others dealing with mental illness, whether they have a condition themselves or have family or friends with mental illness.
According to the NAMI website, every year about one in four American adults has a mental illness.
On its website, NAMI defines a mental illness as “a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.”
But it’s not the end of the world if you have a mental illness.
I recognize that there is a lot of stigma about mental illness. When I’ve told people that I have a mental illness, I haven’t always been met with understanding. I can sometimes see the unease in other people’s reactions. We as a society are not comfortable talking about mental illness.
I have depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD. My psychiatrist has also diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
I used to think all those diagnoses made me a mess.
But I’m not a mess. I’m a woman who struggles sometimes—if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that.
But I also live a good life. I have a husband I adore; I have pets; I have a job I enjoy; I take opportunities to write, something I consider to be part of my purpose; I take photographs; I have good weekends and good weekdays.
Treatment has allowed me to bloom in many ways.
Just as I have been helped by treatment for mental illness, so can anyone with one of these disorders. Everyone responds differently, but I firmly believe that anyone can improve with the right treatment.
It’s not always easy. I have had to make adjustments in my life to allow for the anxiety and depression that sometimes interfere with my daily activities. I have to be mindful to take my medication, see my doctor, and do the other things I do for my mental health.
But life isn’t always easy for you either, is it? We all have obstacles, burdens, troubles. Some of mine happen to include mental illness.
I encourage you to learn more about mental illness by visiting the NAMI website. And remember to be thankful for the good days.
Have you ever witnessed stigma associated with mental illness?