It is 2021. We are well aware of the issues associated with mental illness. Yet, we remain plagued by society and cultural stigmas relating to mental health. Why? What is so hard to understand about the mind being ill and needing some care? It is nothing to fear, despise, or judge.
I do not hide my battles with bipolar; there is no need. I am not ashamed or depressed by the idea that my mind works differently. To be at my most optimal, I have to be intentional in the wellness spectrum of mind management. I developed unhealthy thinking habits at an early age. I continue to create new mind patterns which help me feel different in my reactions, and then I make other choices. The way things played out in the past led to dysfunctional thinking, feelings, and reactions.
Each year the World Health Association states that 800,000 people die by suicide. That is one person every 40 minutes- one person who felt alone, hopeless, unable, incapable, and done. My heart breaks for those who reach a space of emptiness. I have been there, friends. I experienced the moment when blackness encircles you in the bright of day, and you want out. It is the loneliest and quietest place to be. For many, it becomes the final place.
There is a cry for more mental healthcare options, more places to go, more help, and more this or that. The cost of mental health care has climbed from $171B in 2009 to a projection of over $280B in 2021. While help is more readily available for 3-7 day inpatient care, the lack of intensive long-term care is a problem. Combined with the rising issues with substance use illnesses, we are looking at a devastating system that will be lacking, overwhelmed, and unable to keep up with the demand.
How can we begin to help people learn to use daily strategies to help deal with, work through, and process our thoughts and emotions? If we cannot rely on professional help to be available at an affordable rate, what comes next? Are we able to help ourselves through the debilitating illness of the mind?
I believe we can, and I think anyone can start right now, where they are. Understanding how the mind and brain work separately is where you begin. Then, committing to your mental health the same way people engage in their physical health at home can lead to a change and overall improvement in mind management. Understanding the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and choices is taking ownership of your actions. This accountability is crucial for the change in patterns we all desire.
It is not easy. Without your time and effort to begin to unravel your past’s negative thought patterns, you won’t change anything. Being taught that mental illness is out of our control is a wiring problem that limits people. Instead of taking power over their mind, the broken concept leaves us feeling useless. We engage with brokenness as a way of being. However, we do have the means to help and heal our minds.
I hope to continue this discussion to improve our mind management and help ourselves become better mental wellness owners. I refuse to be a statistic or entertain the end of the road thinking I dealt with in my past. Change is possible, and it begins now.