You, Mental Illness and the Rest of the World

You, Mental Illness and the Rest of the World Having been faced with a mental illness, there is always the danger of going to extremes. Either one closes up on himself/herself, becomes convinced that nobody understands him/her and strives to resolve the problem on his/her own, which is usually too difficult. Or one expects of his/her doctors, relatives and friends to do everything, even his/her part, which would be the other extreme.

Imagine Atlas, the super-strong guy from Greek mythology, who held up the celestial sphere. Sweating in the sun, running out of strength due to a heavy burden. And at the same time three of his colleagues lying in a shadow beneath a tree, doing nothing but chewing on grass stalks.

And then imagine a solid table. Why is it so stable? Because it is standing on four legs. This in turn is like a team of four people with the same goal.

What I had to do after having been faced with mental illness, was build a team. First with my psychiatrist, then with my parents and my brother and last but not least with my husband. It did not happen overnight. I spent many years in denial. You can be cleverer than that. You can skip all the stigma nonsense and see yourself as a team builder. As somebody, who organizes a group of people to help him/her and also does not forget his/her part of the job. Two heads are better than one, four heads are better than two. Each individual can contribute something. The psychiatrist takes care of medication. You can join various classes, where you learn how to tame your mind and emotions (CBT, visualizations, affirmations, mirror work etc.). It is also your responsibility to go to bed early, eat healthy and exercise. Family and friends in turn will tell you, when you are starting to develop early symptoms you might not notice.

Thus you will function as a solid table and not as the funny group of Atlas and the three lazy guys in the shadow.

Take care,
Helena Smole, author of Balancing the Beast, a book offering a bright view of schizoaffective disorder ˗ bipolar or manic-depressive type

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