Mental Health/Stigma/One Woman’s Opinion
By – Sheri de Grom
FROM MY JOURNAL – ARKANSAS, OZARKS
We’ll only have peace within when we surrender to ourselves. The worst stigma of all is the individual who’s aware they need help and would benefit from help but refuses to allow themselves to obtain it.
My soul turns in and the world moves, dark and sluggish. Interests once penetrating every part of my being have left me alone. This is a foreign concept. How can I walk away from being victimized by a mental illness?
Globally, one of four will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime.
We’d moved from our dream retirement home in Brown Summit, North Carolina for greener pastures. The demons in NC were tearing Tom apart and I could not allow that to happen. You may read that blog here and here.
Sitting above the shoreline of Bull Shoals Lake [located a stone’s throw from our back
door], I marveled at the sweet sounds of the water massaging the round pebbles and back out again. What peace. What tranquility. Would this be home for us?
It would be wonderful to believe the Arkansas Ozarks is an enchanted place where mental illness, more commonly known as a brain disorder, could tag onto a rainbow, float over the Ozark mountains and move to another place. Unfortunately this never happens.
No one is exempt from brain disorders. One in four homes has someone living there with a mental illness. The crisis presented inside the home includes: stigma, loneliness, hunger, the inability to work and adequate insurance coverage to procure necessary medications. These are just a few of the latest enemies.
To drive away the excruciating pain of the mind and the physical illnesses haunting the body, illegal substances and alcohol are commonly used. These brain disorders are not caused by weakness of character or bad parenting. They are the result of a biochemical disturbance of the brain and no one is immune.
No amount of love or money will save you or me or someone we love from developing a brain disorder. Mental illness is more common than cancer, diabetes, heart disease or arthritis. Comparatively, the success rate for treating heart disease is more successful than the treatment of a mental health diagnosis.
Even though there are thousands of people in the Ozarks with mental illness who are living full and rewarding lives, many are still afraid to ask for help. The stigma of mental illness keeps them from receiving the help that is readily available.
Unequal insurance coverage, fear of discrimination by friends, families and co-workers and stereotypes of the mentally ill all serve to cloud people’s understanding about the very nature of mental illness.
The fact is that remarkable things begin happening when individuals with mental illness feel it is all right to get treatment: families stay together, kids stay in schools and out of trouble, adults become more productive on the job and health care costs decline.
By changing attitudes and shattering the myths surrounding the illness, we’ll accept that people really do move from mental illness to mental health.
Thank you for reading with me. I always appreciate your time.