Thursday, November 8, 2012

Behind the Blog 27: Mental Health


Behind The Blog is a meme to help bloggers connect their life and interests to the content showcased on their blog. The co-hosts Faye Kathe and Melissa will provide a different topic, idea, or question every week that bloggers can relate to themselves and the books, films, or media they find interesting!

This weeks' theme is Mental Health

Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are still a lot of problems surrounding mental health. A large amount of the population are under-educated and ill-advised about mental illnesses and can often make some situations worse. Mental health is something that affects a large proportion of society but many will be too ashamed or worried to seek help because they fear their peers will not understand what is happening.
So this week, to help support everyone with a mental illness, we’re asking you to talk about the subject in relation to your life. How has it affected you or your loved ones?
In relation to media, are there any books or films that you feel highlight specific mental illnesses well or seem to damage their reputation?

Mental health issues are a difficult subject to talk about regardless of the capacity in which they affect your life. I do happen to have a family member that suffers from mental illness, and it's very, very difficult to deal with, to say the least. That's from the point of view of an observer, so I can only imagine how much more difficult it is to have mental health issues. Being that as a child I was unaware of mental illness and what it was, growing up around this person was not easy. I didn't understand their mood swings or erratic behavior, and often times felt that many things were my fault, even though they weren't.

Not understanding leads to confusion, and tiptoeing around that person, trying your best not to "set them off" so to speak. In a way, it sets you apart from people, even though you aren't personally the one suffering the mental illness. There's such a stigma attached to mental illness that you want to hide it, you don't want people to know that it runs in your family for fear they might judge you personally based on their perception of what mental illness is.

In the same token, I think that's part of what prevents people who are suffering from mental illness from getting help. They don't want to be labeled as different, or odd, or strange, so they refuse help, refuse treatment, and sometimes they go on to lead unhealthy, dysfunctional lives because they aren't getting the treatment they need.

In order to make a difference, there has to be a change in the perception about mental illness, and more acceptance. With acceptance the stigma will lessen, individuals suffering mental illness may end up being less hesitant about receiving treatment, and they may be able to lead more productive lives. Those that want to, anyway.

Some people who suffer mental illness/issues refuse help not because they are afraid of the stigma, but because they think that they aren't in need of any help. This sometimes happens to people who take medications to treat their conditions. They take the medication for a while, start to feel better, function better, and then decide that they aren't sick anymore, so they don't need the meds anymore.

This can become a vicious, ugly cycle. As a person who has witnessed this, I have to say it's very difficult to watch someone go through a cycle such as this. You want to help them, and have tried to, but eventually you just have to accept the fact that no matter how hard you try, if they don't want to help themselves, it won't happen.

Media Tie in:

There are several books and movies that have mental health issues as a major theme Here are just a few:

A Beautiful Mind Poster
Photo credit to IMDB

A Beautiful mind is a powerful film based on the life of John Nash, who  suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. 

The Three Faces of Eve Poster
Photo credit: IMDB

This movie was made in 1957 and it portrays a woman who suffers form Multiple Personality Disorder. I first saw this movie in an abnormal psych course I took in college.

Photo Credit to Goodreads

I read this story a year or so ago. It is a  very accurate portrayal of cutting and what drives a person to do it, and the results of it. There are a lot of valuable resources for individuals needing help in the appendix to this book.

These are just a few of the books and movies that deal with mental health issues. What are some books and movies that you've read/seen that deal with mental health issues?

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