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You’re scrolling through Netflix figuring out what you want to watch next; and you start to notice quite a few shows based around the topic of mental health.
For the last few years mental health has been a hot topic for the media.
There have been books, movies, and shows with characters suffering from mental illness. I’ve noticed from ones I’ve read and watched depict mental illness wrong. Some make it seem “glamorous” to struggle with a mental illness. There were a few depicted more realistically than others. With the way society and the media portray mental health, it can give some people the wrong idea.
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma against mental health. Barriers are starting to be broken shedding true light on mental health.
I’ve been quiet about my own illness for a long time. I put off my own mental health for a long time because I didn’t think it to be important. I was taught that since it wasn’t physical symptoms people could see, it would go away on its own. What I didn’t realize was it was making things worse for me.
I have struggled with severe depression for ten years. I reached out for help four years ago. That was when I first started seeing a doctor and got medication for my illness. It was no quick fix like they show on the big screen or in books. It wasn’t until almost two years ago when I found the right medications for myself that worked.
That’s one part the media leaves out, the struggles in between people face with mental illness. There are so many different types of medications out there for mental illness, but it can be hard to find the right medication for you. I had to try five different medications and combinations before I found what actually worked for me. I was even misdiagnosed and that was another factor that played into finding the right medication for me.
Through my own struggles with mental illness, I’ve noticed some doctors are so quick to write a prescription for you, they don’t take enough time to actually get to know you and get to the root of the issue. I would tell them my symptoms and within five minutes they would have a prescription written for me. They wouldn’t take time to talk with me further and figure out what medication would work for me. I had to go to several doctors until I found one that would listen to me.
When I went to my first doctor, I was diagnosed with depression, general anxiety disorder, and PTSD. I was prescribed anti-anxiety medication along with anti-depressants. The medication made me feel like a zombie—it didn’t work well for me. I would tell the doctor, and he would increase my dosage. I would ask to be put on different medication, and he would tell me no. This went on for two years until I found a doctor who gave me the proper diagnosis and medications.
For the longest time, I believed I had bad depression and bad anxiety. This doctor actually took time to fully get to know me. This was the first time I had received a psychological evaluation after going to several doctors. She had diagnosed me as Manic Depressive, which is known better as Bipolar II disorder.
When I first found out that it was Bipolar disorder I was upset and embarrassed. The media and society has put such negative light on Bipolar disorder. I didn’t want to share that with the world. I didn’t want the people in my life to judge me or change their opinion of me. I didn’t want that illness to define me because I knew I was much more than a girl with Bipolar disorder.
Living with Bipolar disorder and before taking the proper medications, my mood was all over the place. I would experience extreme highs in my moods. I would experience an abundance of energy for days on end and my behavior would become reckless. I would then crash and become severely depressed for months on end. Bipolar disorder isn’t being angry one minute and happy the next. It’s much more complex than what the media has shown.
This rings true with other mental illnesses as well. If you don’t know a lot about mental health and have listened to what the media has said, you may have the wrong idea. There are many who suffer from a mental illness, but choose to stay quiet about it because of the way the media has portrayed it to be.
Mental health is serious just like a physical illness. Mental health will continue to be an ongoing issue. By helping break that negative stigma and shedding light on the seriousness of mental health, we will help the ones who are struggling.