Let's face it: there are a lot of aspects of mental illness that can be traumatic, and mental health misdiagnosis can also be traumatic. What happens when we don't even have the mental illness we think we have? I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder six years ago, found out that diagnosis was incorrect two years ago, and now a huge part of my recovery is dealing with the fallout and trauma of that misdiagnosis.
Politics of Mental Illness
Sometimes childhood trauma is big and obvious, but other times, it's more subtle and insidious. In my case, it took until I was well into my 20s to acknowledge that in many ways, my childhood was traumatic. For a long time, part of me knew that was the case, but I couldn't allow myself to believe it because it would mean everything in my life would change.
Therapy is one of the best ways to actively make progress toward recovery from mental illness, but, unfortunately, therapy can be difficult to access when you can't afford it. Even with insurance, sessions can cost upwards of $100. Even if you only go to therapy every other week, that's still $200 per month, which is roughly the same cost as a car payment. Many of us need that money for our actual car payment, and so we end up missing out on therapy we really need.
The Internet both helped and hurt my mental health. I truly believe the internet has done wonderful things for those with mental illness in our day and age. Before the internet, if you had a relatively rare mental illness, you might have felt completely alone or at fault for your situation. Those feelings persist today, but I think the internet has played a huge role in decreasing those feelings.
Is it possible to be grateful for mental illness? Some days, I hate having mental health issues and would do almost anything to make them go away forever. But other days, on my better recovery days, I'm almost grateful for my mental illness. It feels weird to be grateful for something that makes me so miserable so often, but at the same time, I think it's the natural result of living with a chronic condition. After all, the reality is that I can't make my mental illness go away, so I might as well find some silver linings.
Halloween mental health stigma can be especially harmful and offensive. For some reason, many people still believe "asylum" themes are appropriate for their haunted houses and costumes like "escaped mental patient" are fun because they get to wear a straightjacket. I believe stigmatizing mental illness in your Halloween celebration only serves to ostracize and insult an already vulnerable group of people, and it is time for it to end.
Have you considered using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help your mental health recovery? Many people with mental illnesses are employed, but working with a mental illness can be challenging. Stress can cause symptoms to break through, and there may be times when you need time off. Would your supervisor be supportive? Could you apply for benefits under the FMLA to help your mental illness recovery?
Working while on disability should not be penalized. I used to work in a restaurant for $8.25 an hour for 20 hours a week. I reported this income to Social Security, and my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were terminated. Not only that, but the government told me they overpaid me and I had to pay the money back--all at once. This is not right. Working while on disability should not be penalized.
There are three myths about hospitalization that keep people from seeking mental illness treatment when they need it most (Facts About Psychiatric Hospitalization). When I first started having symptoms, I believed all three myths. They kept me from seeking psychiatric treatment for about two years. Ironically, if I'd sought treatment when I first started having symptoms, I might have avoided the first hospitalization. Here are the three myths about hospitalization that keep people from seeking mental illness treatment.
It's clear we need a sensible drug policy in the United States. My generation grew up with a government policy of 100 percent abstinence from illegal substances. We became the most drug-addicted generation in history. When you explore the racist history behind our current drug policy and read what the science really says about illegal drugs, it can easily lead to one conclusion: We need a sensible drug policy in the United States.