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Myths about Mental Illness

Posted Nov 16 2008 4:12pm









Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for your prayers and encouragements.

I am thankful to God for preserving me day by day. I am still learning to pace myself and finding it a great challenge.

I am thankful to God that I can continue to serve Him in this blog. One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing bipolar disorder, and resources that I have found helpful.

I am thankful to God for many kind family and friends around me who have shown extra-ordinary love, patience, understanding, kindness and forgiveness towards me. Having Bipolar Disorder or manic-depressive illness means that I have extreme mood swings (clinical depression or mania) every now and then. I am thankful to my family and friends who are willing to learn and understand these extreme mood swings and help me to survive every episode. They are tokens of God's love for me and I praise Him for His goodness to me!

I am thankful to so many of you too for accepting me as your friend even though you know that I have bipolar disorder. You didn't reject me or despise me :-)

You have demonstrated the great love of Christ by praying and encouraging me in so many wonderful ways. I thank God for everyone of you! You too are tokens of God's love and mercies to me! Praise Him! May He bless you for your kindness to me!

I realize through this illness, the importance of having the support and prayers of my family and friends, besides professional helps from Doctors, Counsellors and Support Group. The people I love, and who love me, will see me at my best. When my symptoms reappear, they may see me at my worst.

Whenever possible, I will share with them my illness. I give them articles, pamphlets and books to read about bipolar disorder so that they will understand that my behaviour is not always under my control. It will also help them to understand why I am sometimes so different.

There's a lot of myths on mental illness that greatly affect both the sufferers and their carers or friends. Thank God for the following informative article that is available in the public domain. Hope it will help to dispels some myths and enable more people to be informed on how to love, care and relate to someone with a neurological disorder. Do free free to pass this article around!

The following is taken from the website of Mental Illness - What A Difference A Friend Makes:

Myths and Facts about Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are very common. They are also widely misunderstood. People with mental illnesses are frequently stigmatized by others who think it's an uncommon condition. The truth is, mental illness can happen to anybody.

Arm yourself with the facts, then use your knowledge to educate others and reach out to those around you with mental illness. Understanding and support are powerful, and they can make a real difference in the life of a person who needs them.

Myth: There's no hope for people with mental illnesses.
Fact: There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and more are in the works. People with mental illnesses lead active, productive lives.

Myth: I can't do anything for a person with mental illness.
Fact: You can do a lot, starting with how you act and speak. You can create an environment that builds on people's strengths and promotes understanding. For example:

  • Don't label people with words like "crazy," "wacko," or "loony" or define them by their diagnosis. Instead of saying someone is "a schizophrenic," say he or she "has schizophrenia." Don't say "a schizophrenic person," say "a person with schizophrenia." This is called "people-first" language, and it's important to make a distinction between the person and the illness.
  • Learn the facts about mental health and share them with others, especially if you hear something that isn't true.
  • Treat people with mental illnesses with respect and dignity, just as you would anybody else.
  • Respect the rights of people with mental illnesses and don't discriminate against them when it comes to housing, employment, or education. Like other people with disabilities, people with mental health problems are protected under federal and state laws.

Myth: People with mental illnesses are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: Actually, the vast majority of people with mental health conditions are no more violent than anyone else. People with mental illnesses are much more likely to be the victims of crime. You probably know someone with a mental illness and don't even realize it.

Myth: Mental illnesses don't affect me.
Fact: Mental illnesses are surprisingly common; they affect almost every family in America. Mental illnesses do not discriminate—they can affect anyone.

Myth: Mental illness is the same as mental retardation.
Fact: These are different conditions. Mental retardation is characterized by limitations in intellectual functioning and difficulties with certain daily living skills. In contrast, people with mental illnesses—health conditions that cause changes in a person's thinking, mood, and behavior—have varied intellectual functioning, just like the general population.

Myth: Mental illnesses are brought on by a weakness of character.
Fact: Mental illnesses are a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. Social influences, like the loss of a loved one or a job, can also contribute to the development of various mental health problems.

Myth: People with mental illnesses cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.
Fact: All jobs are stressful to some extent. Anybody is more productive when there's a good match between the employee's needs and the working conditions, whether or not the worker has a mental health problem.

Myth: People with mental health needs, even those who have recovered, tend to be second-rate workers.
Fact: Employers who have hired people with mental illnesses report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees. Studies by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) show that there are no differences in productivity when people with mental illnesses are compared to other employees. (Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999)

Myth: Once people develop mental illnesses, they will never recover.
Fact: Studies show that most people with mental illnesses get better, and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. For some individuals, recovery is the ability to live a fulfilling and productive life. For others, recovery implies the reduction or complete remission of symptoms. Science has shown that hope plays an integral role in an individual's recovery.

Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?
Fact: Treatment varies depending on the individual. A lot of people work with therapists, counselors, friends, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers during the recovery process. They also use self-help strategies and community supports. Often they combine these with some of the most advanced medications available.

Myth: Children don't experience mental illnesses. Their actions are just products of bad parenting.
Fact: A report from the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health showed that in any given year five to nine percent of children experience serious emotional disturbances. Just like adult mental illnesses, these are clinically diagnosable health conditions that are a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.

Myth: Children misbehave or fail in school just to get attention.
Fact: Behavior problems can be symptoms of emotional, behavioral, or mental problems, rather than merely attention-seeking devices. These children can succeed in school with appropriate understanding, attention, and mental health services.

For more Mission 4 Monday posts, visit Peggy.

Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!

May God grant you a very blessed week!

Take care.

Related Posts:

About depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and mental illness or mood disorders:
1. About bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)
2. Myths and Facts on Mental Illness
3. Treatment of bipolar disorder
4. Various pamphlets and articles on bipolar disorder for sufferer and carer
5. Recovery steps for depression and bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness

For friends and carers:
1. Helping someone with mood disorder
2. Family and Friends' Guide to Recovery from Depression and Bipolar Disorder
3. How Carers and Friends can help

Misc related posts:

1. Trust during rough times
2. Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder
3. Mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, etc) is an illness like any other
4. Video on "Depression - A Stubborn Darkness"

Recent Posts:

My Homemade Gifts

A Tribute to my Counsellor in remembrance of her

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