2 Ways to Reduce the Stigma and Shame of Mental Illness

What You can Do to Help

When someone you love is diagnosed with a mental illness (major depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline storms8personality disorder, PTSD, OCD) something ugly tends to rear its head – the two-headed monster of stigma and shame.

This monster gets its life from those who don’t understand. They’re either uninformed or misinformed. Has that  been your child’s teachers? Their friends? Their friends parents? Your friends or co-workers? Family? When stigma and shame are directed at your son or daughter, or at you, the hurt runs deep. You feel protective. Defensive. Angry. Sad. Embarrassed. At a loss for how to respond.

But, if you were honest, maybe you’d admit that the monster has taken up residence in your mind, too. It did in mine.

You need to hear these things. Write them down and look at them often:

  • Don’t believe your child’s value in this world is diminished because of their mental illness.

Helping Parents Understand Borderline Personality Disorder

Part 6 in Series on Mental Illness

rain This is the last in a series on the major mental illnesses, also called brain disorders. As a parent who once knew nothing about these things before my daughter, now twenty-nine, was diagnosed, I began to gather information to help both myself and others who are on a similar difficult journey.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, therefore, my blogs have focused on these issues. I’ve addressed Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Schizophrenia. You can access these posts here.

Today’s  topic is Borderline Personality Disorder. I hope you find it helpful. I’m not an expert, so I turn to the best in the field, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nami.org. On their website you will find many additional articles on each of these disorders and much more.

What You Need to Know about OCD

Information and Hope for Parents Whose Children Suffer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Azizyan_The_drunk_grove-1._Alupka_2003May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is Part 5 of a series on Mental Illness. These posts are mainly directed at helping parents understand and cope better, but everyone needs more information because one day you may know someone who struggles with one of the issues I’ve addressed.

Have you noticed your child experiencing anxiety over obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors that are causing them problems with normal, daily functioning? It can drive you nuts and try your patience. They may have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you’ve wondered exactly what that is, this blog will give you the information you’ve been looking for. I wish I’d had it sooner.

My source is The National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org). They are an excellent resource and have many articles on OCD, in addition to support groups for the individual who struggles and for those who love them.

Part 4 Mental Health Series – Panic Disorder

For Discouraged Parents

Today’s post is part 4 in a series I’m doing on mental illness in honor of May being Mental Health Awareness month. Being a parent is depression (1)tough. But sometimes it can get really tough. Have you ever observed unreasonable fears or unexplainable episodes in your son or daughter that caused you to wonder if something more was wrong with them than just having a bad day? They may have a panic or anxiety disorder.

My daughter began to show signs of high anxiety in high school. Her behavior baffled me. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Was she over-reacting or trying to get attention?

The symptoms can be extremely distressing and mysterious. You know something’s wrong, but can’t put your finger on it. If this is your situation, then you might find this information helpful. As overwhelming as panic disorder can be, please be encouraged to know this mental health issue is highly treatable.

 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, my source of this information (nami.org), panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by

What Do you Know About Schizophrenia?

Helping Parents Cope and Find Resources

mental illness1   Schizophrenia. Have you wondered if this could be what’s wrong with your son or daughter, or have they already been diagnosed? Maybe you weren’t surprised, but either way, it was probably devastating. You may have been on this precarious path for a while. Some days you feel okay – on other days you’re not.

A friend of mine whose daughter struggles with this mental health issue says she often feels far out of her comfort zone. “Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a nightmare” she explained.

Being the parent of a child who suffers with schizophrenia is a little like trying to cross a precarious rope bridge, only you haven’t got any choice – you have to keep going, even though you’re scared to death. I hope you find the following information from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness – nami.org) to be helpful on your journey.

Mental Illness Series Part 2, Bipolar Disorder

Helping Parents Understand

depression (1)“I’ve finished my assessment and I  believe your child has Bipolar Disorder. We’ll need to get them started on medication right away.”

It can feel like a punch in the stomach; like the end of the world as you knew it. If this has happened to you, then you need to understand what receiving a diagnosis of bipolar really means. What will your son or daughter’s life look like now? Please don’t despair. It’s still possible for them to have a fulfilling life.

This is part 2 in a series on mental illness. May is Mental Health Awareness month so I’m focusing on this issue. My information is from The National Alliance on Mental Illness, nami.org  Refer to the first blog of the series (May 1st) for a further introduction to the topic of mental illness.

Bipolar Disorder is also known as manic depression. A mood disorder, bipolar affects nearly 6 million adults in the U.S. Characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning, people experience alternating episodes of mania (severe highs), depression (severe lows), and mixed states which contain elements of both high and low experiences.

These episodes may last for days, weeks, or even months, and are often separated by periods of fairly normal moods. A chronic condition with recurring episodes, bipolar often begins in adolescence or early adulthood. If your child has been diagnosed, remember – it does NOT mean they’re sentenced to a life of misery. Good treatment is available from many professionals who are continually improving their understanding of this mental health issue.

How Can I Know if My Child’s Depressed?

Helpful Information for Parents About Mental Illness - Part 1, Depression

be still3 - CopyMay is Mental Health Awareness Month. All month I will be posting blogs on this topic. If  your son or daughter has been diagnosed with a mental health issue you need all the help you can get to understand.

Major depression, obsessive compulsive, bipolar disorder , PTSD and schizophrenia (among other disorders) are robbing millions of their quality of life. This is part one of a three part series highlighting information about the major mental illnesses, also called brain disorders.

My information is from The National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) the major source of information, education, advocacy, and support for individuals and their families affected by this challenge.

Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. They are medical conditions that men, women, and sometimes even children, have no control over, like diabetes or cancer. These disorders diminish their ability to function and cope with the usual demands of life. The result is a huge ripple effect on family members and society in general. Compassion, understanding and support is needed.

Today I’ll address major depression. If you love someone who suffers from this, or if you are, be encouraged. As the non-profit To Write Love on her Arms (twloha.com) says, “There is help and Hope is real”.

One of the best things you as a parent can do is to educate yourself as much as you can. It helped me.

Interview on Real Talk with Justin Miller

Real Talk is a TV talk show where today’s topics meet the timeless truth of the Gospel. Host and pastor of Real Life Church (Clermont, FL), Justin Miller, shares insights on today’s headlines and current topics with fun, honesty, witty banter, and a hint of sarcasm. In this recent interview we shared a little about our story as hurting parents with a word of encouragement for you.