Mental health

Ugly Truth 006: Mental Illness Isn’t Trendy

“Stigma against mental illness is a scourge with many faces.”
Elyn R. Saks
Good Afternoon Readers, Today I read an out-pouring of depression authored by another blogger that so resonated with me. She described the loneliness, the worthlessness, and the lack of familial support she was experiencing. She was expressing fear for losing her job after repetitive no call-no shows. She described the inability to get out of bed and the love of her husband. It all sounded so familiar. It reminded me next of a comment I read elsewhere that proclaimed concern for mental illness becoming a trend, or an excuse for poor behavior. When suddenly it all came together in one final thought: Who on earth would ever choose this? While depression is fairly common, it can manifest itself in many ways creating trenches of misunderstanding even among its sufferers. I will use myself as an example. I have Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Depression is not the same as Unipolar Depression. What’s more, I do not experience typical manic depressive mood swings. I experience mixed states. In a mixed episode, symptoms of both mania and depression exist simultaneously. For me, depression may present itself in the classic form of fatigue, grief, loss of interest, and suicidal thoughts – OR – it may present as irritability, agitation, anger, guilt or rage. I believe this variability is why I went misdiagnosed for a decade, and why stigma continues to thrive. Mixed episodes are markedly difficult to spot and stigma finds fuel in misinformation. We fear what we do not understand, and remain a generally discriminating species as a result. I have to bully myself every morning to do what I need to, and cry through it more often than not. I suffer from irrational fears and false beliefs. Under extreme stress I hallucinate, have panic attacks and nightmares. I have considerable mood swings, paranoia, and insomnia. I have chronic pain, flashbacks, and anxiety so severe it changes my vitals. If you think this is trendy, then perhaps you should see a doctor yourself. Perhaps the concept that one should “snap out of it” or “get over it” has been addressed by the rising mental health awareness in recent years. Perhaps the number of diagnoses have increased because our detection has improved, and we now know the importance of early intervention. The truth is, mental illness is not a trend or an excuse. It is a valid medical condition that responds to treatment. Have you ever been marginalized because of mental illness? **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

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