The Paradox of Mental Health

Posted on Posted in Life Lessons
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Since starting my blog, this has been my longest hiatus from posting. Recently, one of my family members I love the most got quite sick. The pinnacle of resilience, positivity and perspective, I knew quickly how unwell he was as he leaned into me inconsolably describing how he had almost killed himself and planned to do it again that same night. My immediate reaction was one of concern, urgency, and pride. Not pride in the sense of wanting to maintain face, but deep appreciation that someone, who normally could laugh at almost anything, was identifying these prevalent feelings as unhealthy. Because of his wherewithal, excellent medical care, and other factors, he was stabilized, showed quick and substantial improvement, and is now an outpatient to the hospital.

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com

This entire experience impacted me in more ways than I’ll ever be able to identify. One impression that comes to the forefront is how many campaigns exist that promote the acceptance of mental illness, and advocate for mental health. It seems we generally agree with the ideals the campaigns put forward. However, when it we are faced with mental illness in someone we know or in ourselves, things get paradoxical. Mental health is expected. Mental illness isn’t okay. Maybe it’s because we are able to will ourselves to do so much, and rationalize withourselves that an underlying assumption exists; with enough positive thought, prayer, and/ or meditation, predominant thoughts of worthlessness, obsessive thoughts, prevalent anxiety can be overcome. I wish this were true, for if it was the case, I wouldn’t have exerted so much energy myself to extinguish my own generalized anxiety.

Though there are many who don’t stigmatize mental illness, there are many coping with, suffering from, or losing a battle to such an illness that believe that those around them will judge them. A friend’s dad once said, “Depression is like cancer. If left untreated, or if treated improperly, it can kill.”

Photo credit: depression-symptoms.org
Photo credit: depression-symptoms.org

My goal when I set out to write my blog was to cover all facets of health. Though this post is not as lighthearted as those before it, my hope is that it may underscore the importance that we advocate for wellbeing while being comfortable to admit when our minds just aren’t right.

Resources on Mood Disorders

If you or someone you know is suffering from a postpartum mood disorder psychiatric care and counselling in Canada are completely covered. Talk to your family doctor for more information.

xo Alana

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6 thoughts on “The Paradox of Mental Health

  1. Very important stuff here. So glad your family member got the right treatment in a timely manner, depression and other forms of mental illness are devastating, and so misunderstood by so many. Thanks for bringing awareness to such an important topic.

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  3. Thank you so much for bringing this in! Mental illness is just that – an illness. One never knows when he/ she could need help. It’s no different than the flue, or a broken bone. So important to remember to provide support, or seek medical help when needed!

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