Did you know suicide is the third leading cause of death in the world? Well, how about that 60-70 million Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental health problem at any given time in their lives (a ratio of over one in five). Or even, worldwide, that less than one out of five families has at least one loved one combating a mental health problem.
Mental health disorders have genetic or biological origins and even personal situations that result from stressful situations in childhood, adulthood, schooling, employment, violence, substance abuse, or war. Well wouldn’t it be great to find a place where judgments meet facts, opinions are shaped, and failures become success stories? Our mission is to encourage people to develop and express their opinions and feelings in a supportive environment while counteracting stereotypes, discrimination, and negative attitudes associated with mental health disorders. For this, check our Forum page.
As a first step, would the stigma and shame remain as potent if those individuals, who are caretakers or affected by a loved one’s mental illness, spoke of it, in the same way, any other illness. Gradually normalcy could develop if those affected by their loved ones could take a courageous proactive stance to admit and share the effects of the stigma and the impact of the illness on their loved ones. As well as, those, fortunate enough, not affected by mental illness be open enough to self-examine their own possible fears and biases. Mental disorders’ normalization could be slowly spawned through discussions that evoke knowledge, empathy, and compassion among and between those affected and not affected by the illness.
Below is a short but growing collection of samples that summarize someone being affected by a singular or multi-faceted disorder in his or her brain that he or she has little control over. Imagine if you will, that each of these samples (given roughly a 20 seconds or less time span each) went through YOUR head unwillingly... every... waking...hour.
The walking nightmare
Schizophrenia- (a popular song is being played that you know the words to and yet this is what you hear)…” we’re talking about you, we’re stalking your house too…” (and you begin to think) shut off the music! Walk outside, go look to see if anyone is coming!...
(You hear birds chirping) The rhythm of the chirping must mean something... it means... my father is going to kill me tonight?! I have to tell someone! (Your delusions make you believe your father is a murderer rapist that kills for fun and has been hiding this lifestyle from you your entire life and everyone he is friends with shares the same secret lifestyle with him). No one could help me! No one would believe me! …They’re all working together!… Can’t trust anyone… Got to figure this out! (Walking back inside)…I feel dirty. The insects are crawling on me! (You don’t see insects on further inspection of your unclean body) They won’t leave me alone…NO one will leave me alone! ... Shut up! Can’t think too loud, they’ll know all my secrets… everybody knows!... Why me?!...
Depression- (Recount the most painful memory you have and play it out in your head in slow motion) No one knows that every waking moment brings me closer to all the memories I can’t forget. So much failure. I can’t escape from it. (More painful memories now attack your thought process) These feelings are pulsating through my emotions… so much pain, it’s so hard to move, every heartache filled memory seems to double in size with every thought. Constant thoughts of unbearable failure, misery, mix with a self-inflicted attack of negativity. My brain can't escape, why can't I escape? So much pain, No way out… Why me?!
Anxiety-(A clock begins ticking) Too much to do. What to do first? I should fix the biggest problem at work. Oh, God. I forgot about the continuous issue that has no solution as of yet and the deadline approaches (as the minutes pass like seconds the clock begins ticking faster to you) Two things to deal with that need to be solved 5 seconds ago. (You think to yourself) I can’t fix anything. Get a grip! Who am I kidding?! I'm such a failure. (A haunting personal problem emerges your thought process as you snap back to reality the clock now ticks faster as you realize immediate action needs to take place for all three items at the same time and you grab your chest and begin to feel failure take your breath) Something needs to be solved. (you feel your brain racing without direction) Need to breathe... Need to relax. (The sound of the ticking becomes deafening) Breathe! (you tell yourself but your brain shouts) I cant’ relax! (Clock ticking at such a fast pace that the sound would mimic the buzzing of a fly's wings near your ear) Must work! Things need to get done. So much to do! I can’t do this alone! No one can fix this but me! But I can’t fix this. Nobody can! There is no escape!… Why me?!
These are just an example of episodes suffered by people with forms of mental health disorders. Unfortunately, some of our brains are often too complex for us to live with. I assure you that these intense segments of thoughts were written and/or helped developed by those affected by the titled mental illness. We need to expand the list! So, if you suffer from a diagnosable mental illness please send your creative entries that explain a situational thought process that you feel describe what it feels like to be afflicted with a mental health condition. Our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org Help us inform those who don't know what it’s like for you to sit in the passenger seat of your racing thoughts. Remember you are helping society understand what they’ve never experienced. All submissions will be anonymous unless you direct us otherwise.
Because we here at the BTS team are specifically designed to Break the Stigma, we regret to inform you that we do not have details on each diagnosis. However, if you do want a complete and comprehensive source on specific illnesses, we would like to direct you to our "shop" page in this website's menu. Below our "suggested readings" will be a link to such a place.