The Shield Of Ignorance

As children people with mental illnesses are strange, scary and described as crazy ; that is because most societies address mental illness in that way. As I grew out of my childhood I started noticing that maybe someone I know has a mental illness and as time passed it became two then three then four people I know. I am not saying everyone around me is insane or even that they have a serious mental illness but, I am saying that as a kid I was lead to believe that people with mental illnesses are a rare and unnatural phenomenon that I only saw on TV. As I came to this realization I addressed it with my mother and I had a lot of questions that she was fairly willing to answer. However as we talked my father heard our conversation, told us to stop and asked to speak with my mother privately. Obviously , I listened from the next room as he said ” Why are you telling her this? she does not need to know this , you are the one who is supposed to shield her from this” , that conversation later turned into an argument so I did not feel like listening and went to my room to think about what I just heard. My mother had always been open with this topic since we have a deep rooted family history with mental illness specifically depression , so she always felt like I needed to know, so that I can be prepared and I thank god everyday of my life for that because god knows where i would be if it had caught me off guard.

Egyptian society does not like to acknowledge mental illness and those with mental illnesses are often treated as outsiders and axG2mr1_700bfreaks. Some parents(especially those who have not suffered from mental illnesses themselves) tend to try to ignore signs of the slightest possibility that their children have a mental illness. They are definitely not expected to welcome the idea but, if they do not eventually accept it and they do not educate their child about the subject, they may be partly responsible for the development of their child’s mental illness because they did nothing about it. Mental health education is extremely important but, just as extremely depreciated ; it is common believe among some that children and teens need to be shielded from such matters as they may somehow develop mental illnesses as they hear about them. I believe that is groundless. It is simply a form of denial that lead to young people staying in oblivion of what their symptoms mean or relate to. Yes, that would technically lead to less diagnosed mental illnesses on records but, in reality the mental illnesses are still there, they are simply in-diagnosed which is far more dangerous.

On the other end of the spectrum, when a mental illness is diagnosed the patient is rushed to a lot of drugs, constant therapy and around the clock monitoring in many cases. And while some of the serious mental illnesses require such measures, other cases may require low doses of medication and occasional therapy and other cases may not need any of this at all. People with mental illnesses that have been with them for some time can learn to live with them without medication and lead normal lives. This , of course, is not easy ; it requires that the patient is firstly diagnosed and that they know exactly what they have and the symptoms involved and it requires that their case is not considered life threatening or too serious to handle without drugs. The trick is how to define the direness of the case? Psychiatrists are an obvious answer but, I also believe that a person can know how they feel and what they need best so, if a patient feels he/she does not need to start taking medication or that he /she do not need constant therapy, he/she should test that with their therapists and if it works they can continue with it if they feel that makes them comfortable and does not threat their lives in any way.

The reason people attempt to avoid the drug-free methods is that they are unpleasant (to say the absolute least). Taking to a complete stranger about personal feeling and thoughts can be a nightmare, drugs that cause a state of what can be described as emptiness, zombie-like and a wrecked appetite do not seem like a picnic either, and constant monitoring from family members with pity eyed looks, no personal space and not knowing how to help to the point of being pathetic. Yes, sometimes drugs are a must but, a lot of the time they are not and we as humans are stronger than we think we are. Drugs, with all the side effects, are the easy way (still not easy at all) while , fighting may be so much harder it is a way of life that can be sustained to eventually provide a semi normal life for patients.

For anyone with a mental illness : FIGHT YOUR WAY

Just doing me,

YM

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