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May is Mental Awareness Month


As we focus more and more on ways to improve our lives, there is no excuse for ignoring an important segment of disorders that could affect us in a powerful way. Mental disorders are gaining more and more prominence in today’s society, as their effect can range from mild to severe. Good mental health is essential for establishing rewarding human relations, for maintaining work discipline, and overall, for enjoying what life has to offer.

 There are many ways in which you can help the awareness effort and you can start by making sure that no person close to you suffers from a mental disorder. Conditions like depression are still being kept secret and generally considered as a big turnoff. No one wants to hang out with someone which admits he/she is not in full control of his/her thinking process. Adopting a different point of view and opening yourself to the problems others experience can be a game changer for their efforts to get better. On the other hand, sharing your own success story or current struggle can inspire others to enroll on the same path towards change. Don’t be afraid to display your weaknesses, as long as you are fighting to overcome them.

Judging plain numbers and ignoring the context in which data was gathered is not always a good idea, and real science should stay away from this temptation. If we look at the last decades and choose to believe statistics, the conclusion would be a simple one: the number of patients diagnosed each year with some sort of mental disorders has increased at a steady pace, resembling the pattern of a contagious disease, spreading without control.

But there are other reasons which are able to provide a more reasonable explanation. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are not new to human nature, but they were previously considered as personality traits of the individual. As more and more terrain was conquered in the fighting all kinds of conditions of the human body, alleviating the troubles of the mind and soul has become equally important for improving the quality of life.

Actor Heath Ledger

Mental disorders are able to affect everyone, irrespective of social status, occupation, sex or age. Even some celebrities are facing such difficulties and these kinds of examples are able to help an average individual escape the illusion of exclusivity. Heath Ledger was probably best remember for impersonating the Joker, in the movie The Dark Knight, and his tragic death at a young age shocked Hollywood and the general opinion. The actor was suffering from severe depression and it is assumed that this condition played an important role as he died from abuse of prescribed medications.

Singer Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor was definitely a big name in pop music during of the eighties and nineties but it was only in 2007 when she publicly admitted her struggle with a mental illness usually associated with creativity and artists. Sinead was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 37, after attempting to kill herself on her 33rd birthday, and is still following treatment with antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

It is important to note that most mental conditions are permanent and someone suffering from such a condition only has the option of keeping it under control. Constant medication is probably equally important with lifestyle aspects like profession, family status, etc. Living an uncontrolled life, full of excess and radical change is certainly not something to help the recovery process. Traumatic events like separation from a loved one can trigger the installment of various mental conditions, but they usually have deep roots in the childhood or early adult life. A fast identification and professional help are the best premises for the chance to live a normal life.

It is equally important to understand the power of awareness months, as they are reminders that keeping after your health (both physical and mental) is a process and not a conquered state. As life changes, we change and going with that change can sometimes lead in the wrong direction. It is never too late to make a turn and get back on the track.


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