There are millions of people who don’t think twice about wearing glasses for their poor eyesight, or taking insulin for their diabetes… but many would rather die than take medication for a mental illness.
There is a social taboo about being sick, especially when it comes to mental illness. This taboo keeps many people each year from receiving life-saving treatment. People would rather keep their illness a secret, or even deny they have an issue rather than be viewed as “crazy”.
Depression, anxiety disorder, and other emotional issues are regularly viewed as things a person can “Just get over” or that they just need to “man up”. The problem is it that mental illness is much more complicated than that. Mental disorders are not imaginary… they can be diagnosed through a series of tests and if found, treated with the proper combination of therapies.
There is a grave misunderstanding that keeps people from seeking treatment, where they think that the treatments for mental illness will “zombify” them making them not feel anything, or that the treatment may take away who they are. This is far from the truth. While it may take experimenting with different dosages and therapy combinations to find what works for a person, those therapies are there to help get things on an even keel so that healing can begin.
If you are suffering with mental illness, do not be ashamed… understand that there are people who want to help you. If a loved one you know is struggling with mental illness, act with compassion and understanding. There is hope, and help is out there.
[Originally written for StrongBackFitness.com July 2017]