By Nancy Virden (c)2021
Now that mental health challenges have more specific (yet still imperfect) names than in the past, and potential treatments are more (but not always) accessible, stigma still rules many opinions. A diagnosis serves as a guide for professionals and the client to discover what may help, yet clients and outsiders still tend to think a diagnosis is a person’s identity.
The idea of once mentally ill always mentally ill, is a misinterpretation of facts that initially had me fooled. I thought depression and I were nearly the same entity, that there was no escape. Now I know better. That most persons who have ever received a diagnosis are incapable of freedom from symptoms has long served as an excuse for people to stay at a distance.
Proof of recovery is all around. Many of today’s ministries to traumatized or despairing persons are founded and led by those with shared experiences. People whose lives have been transformed function as bosses, religious leaders, advocates, parents, co-workers, best friends, and so on. We are unlikely aware of how many people we know who have had mental health struggles unless they share their histories with us.
Unknowing, we do miss out on observing the joy that follows despair or the emotional strength forged in character. Instead, what draws our attention is stigma. Media reports which nearly invariably use “he once saw a psychiatrist” or “she had an untreated disorder” to describe the most recent murderer, help to promote stigma. (In these criminal cases, is not the value of the words “once” and “untreated” apparent?)
In the last quarter century, we have kept better yet incomplete records , vastly underestimating numbers of people in need of help, deaths by suicide, attempted suicides, and recovery rates. We do know that most people who receive treatment go on to fulfilling and satisfactory living.
Today’s Helpful Word
2 Samuel 22:31
God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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