The "Practical Spirituality" Newspaper

The Stigma of Mental Illness

In Conscious Living on September 14, 2009 at 6:46 pm

It’s an interesting situation. The word ‘illness’ I mean. We are comfortable with applying it to physical ill health. Although we begrudgingly go through the symptoms of coughs, colds, flu’s and more series illnesses, we are okay with describing ourselves as ill when we are not at our best.

Things are different when it comes to mental illness – or illnesses of the mind. Mental illness takes on a stigma, a barb and has a permanent sting attached to it. A branding. A tattoo.

The problem with our aversion to describing our bouts of mental illness is that we leave ourselves wide open to worsening our state of mind. Illness is illness. It is the time that you aren’t experiencing health; peace of mind. Stress is a mental illness, dark moods tell you that your mind is not well, anxiety is a definite sign that you’re not okay mentally.

There are so many common malaises that come under the banner of mental illness – a mind experiencing distress… but despite the plethora of symptoms, we deny our current state. Flu we associate with illness, but what about the effects of worry, the overdrive of anxiety and the disruption of confusion. These are signs of mental illness, are they not!

You don’t have to be a patient locked away in a psychiatric ward to be mentally ill. By denying the signs of illness, we press on… and pressure ourselves into more and more fractured states of mind…

Yes, psychosis, schitzophrenia and the extreme forms of dimentia and dissaociation are mental illnesses. But they are not the only forms. Illness is illness and all forms of malaise require care and attention.

Spirituality and maturity have something in common – they are both paths where you face your truth. Get over your judgment and accept when your mind is not well do something about it! Denying your experience only alienates you from finding a cure…

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