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The Face of Mental Illness - Shedding Light on What Ails Us.

May 2, 2018

Looking at me, you wouldn’t guess that I suffer from mood disorders or mental illness. I don’t look like how society often tells us mental ill people should look. I am highly functioning and strong for others. I take care of people, love people and have ambitions of my own. However, I suffer from depression, anxiety, mood swings and panic attacks. I spend a great deal of time alone; thinking. Until recently, most of my thoughts were detrimental to my overall well-being. Perhaps some of your most “together” family members or friends suffer in silence. How would you know?

Mental Health Awareness Month invites us to look at mental illness and the importance of maintaining mental fitness. It is essential to familiarize ourselves with some of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Some of these signs are:

  • Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others

  • Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks

  • Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain

  • Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations

  • Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity

  • Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality

  • Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult

  • Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling

  • Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior

  • Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care

  • Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings

One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness. But if a person is experiencing several at one time and the symptoms are causing serious problems in the ability to study, work or relate to others, he/she should be seen by a mental health professional. People with suicidal thoughts or intent, or thoughts of harming others, need immediate attention. (psychiatry.org)

 

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Until next time,

Namaste.

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