Three things you need to know and understand about Mental Illness

Whoo Hoo! It’s mental health awareness week and I’m going to tell you three things you need to fucking KNOW about mental illness and make sure you lucky bastards who are reading this know what the hell mental illness is. Short and to the point; Let me blow your fucking mind. I hope you will read and share this post. I suppose the profanity might make the sharing a problem for some of you, but I’m not fucking changing anything.

Oh, and if you remember nothing else at all, please remember this – when you talk out your ass, people will mistake your words for farts.  If you don’t know what you are talking about, shut your hole. Nobody trusts farts; at least not smart people. Smart people know that when they smell a fart, a shit isn’t far behind.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to mental illness.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to mental illness.

Mental Illness defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI, a great goddamn resource for individuals and families struggling with mental illness.

A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

Whoever wrote that is clearly a genius. It’s truly flawless, covers everything. But here are the three biggest things I want you to know about mental illness, now that you know what mental illness is.

  1. Mental illness is real. If you are one of those people who don’t believe that mental illness is real, that people just make shit up and need excuses so they don’t have to be responsible for their bad choices, you are wrong. Nobody chooses to be hyperactive, delusional, suicidal, manic, paranoid, or anxious. Nobody chooses to starve to death, hallucinate, or wash their hands until they are bloody fucking raw. I’m guessing you also believe that homosexuality is a choice too. Mental illness is real and true and hell for the person suffering. Don’t make it worse by being a fucking tool and telling them it’s all in their head.
  2. Mental illness is treatable. Mental illness is not curable. Sure, people can improve and be in active recovery, but true, diagnosable mental illness is a lifelong struggle. Mental illness must be managed and there are many ways to manage it, which is exciting and terrifying. Some mental illnesses really do require medication, others do not, and this is and will always be a very individual thing. We are who we are and who we are is a product of our genetics, environment, experiences, and our choices. There is hope.
  3. Mental illness is complex! I like to compare it to ice cream. It comes in a mega-fuckton of “flavors.” A year or so ago, I wrote a blog post comparing depression to skinny jeans. You can read it by clicking HERE. Skinny jeans look different on everyone! But I compare mental illness to ice cream because the metaphor is really fucking perfect. A chocolate bipolar might look different than a double chocolate peanut bipolar. Think about it this way; chocolate bipolar doesn’t get the full-blown mania, just the hypomania, and can function pretty well. He might or might not need medication. He probably needs some therapy to learn how to best manage his illness, and will likely respond very well to it. Chocolate bipolar is insightful, intelligent, and has a lot of family support, which makes it easier to manage the highs and lows. Now double chocolate peanut bi-polar does have the highs. And I mean HIGH, baby! Double chocolate peanut is hypersexual, impulsive, full of ideas that must be shared and acted upon THISVERYMOMENT, yet when double chocolate peanut gets low, double chocolate peanut stays in bed for weeks at a time, in deep despair, making plans to blow his fucking brains out. Double chocolate peanut can’t remember what it feels like to be high when he is low or low when he is high. Double chocolate peanut needs some meds and therapy to manage his double chocolate peanuty-ness.

Both bipolars are chocolate, but one bipolar in this case has more chocolate and nuts. Similar with very important differences, and those differences are critical, because you know, nuts are fucking deadly for some people. And chocolate is delicious, but if you overdo it, you will have cramps, zits, and your ass will explode.

Stephen Fry - Brilliant example of a talented, intelligent,  wonderful human being struggling  and managing a life with Bipolar Disorder

Stephen Fry – Brilliant example of a talented, intelligent, wonderful human being struggling and managing a life with Bipolar Disorder

So there you have it. In a nut-shell. Pun intended. But I’m serious about this shit.

Mental illness is real, treatable, and complex. I realize this blog post was simple and in some ways silly, but mental illness is neither of these things. Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how mental illness is complex – very complex – and no laughing matter. In the meantime, enjoy this video of Stephen Fry talking about Bipolar Disorder. Bloody Brilliant!

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