I am writing this post even though it is really personal as it comes from a personal experience. We live in a world where mental illness is spreading through the lives of many people around the world. It affects both the person with illness and all the family and friends that care about them. Despite tremendous advance in science of psychotherapy and psychology there are still many people suffering and there is still many unknown factors about causes of mental illness. Our brain is a fascinating organ and despite efforts of many scientists from different fields still it is the most mysterious organ in our body. Public awareness is slowly growing about the need to support and understand people who suffer of mental illness and unfortunately in many countries there is still a lot of stigma and misunderstanding of the illness. I have personally experienced good and bad reactions from my surroundings, but luckily I had more support then judgement. I also had different experience in different hospitals I have “visited” as a patient. My last experience was the most positive one and I think it is mostly due to a fact that I searched for help willingly and that I was lucky to be in one the best hospitals in this field in my country. The combination of talking with my psychiatrist, listening through group therapy other people’s experience and feeling connected sometimes to certain parts of their story, sharing my experience and my fears and doubts with them, just spending time with other patients talking or watching a movie, laughing, regular visits and phone calls from my friends and family, all helped me on my way to recovery. Also I believe medications helped me in a way to calm my negative pattern and to start thinking more about now and the future. I have gained lifelong friendships during my three months stay because it was a first time I really opened up in the hospital and I consciously decided to make the best of the opportunity for recovery that I was given. I have met there some wonderful sensitive people with tough stories behind them but with a strong will to hold on and to recover. After meeting there many people who keep coming back to hospital with same problems that are bothering them outside of the hospital, I realized that most of my problems I made myself by not observing myself, my thoughts , my feelings, my intuition. I was already deep in the crisis when I realized I need to ask for professional help. Now that I am out of the hospital since November, I am taking every day as it comes. I have surrounded myself with positive and encouraging people, I keep in touch with my close friends even if some of them are far away, I am in regular contact with my family.
I am grateful to everything that i have learned from my experience and for all the wonderful people that are part of my life.
When I think about the system we have in place for treatment of mental illness I like to envision a world where these types of illness will be seen through a different light and we will have hospital which will focus on reconnecting people back with nature, focusing on creative workshops, with lots of dancing, singing, just celebrating life. And the world in which we will not be afraid to teach our children about mental health and we will remove the stigma and the feel of shame that comes with mental illness.
To all of those who have suffered and are still suffering from some type of mental illness I would like to say be brave, be strong, be kind to yourself and open your heart so you can receive help, because there is always a hand eager to pull you out of the darkness and show you the light. No matter how hard it may seem and no matter how many dark thoughts you have to endure, don’t give up, because life is worth living even when the going gets tough. You will be rewarded for your persistence, for your courage, for your heart and for your trust.
For all of you who know someone who is suffering from mental illness, I would like to say stay strong, look after yourself, together with other friends and family make a support network for the person who is suffering and when you are really confused and hurt, understand that you to have felt down in your life and you needed helping hand. Maybe you managed not to go as deep in the darkness as your friend, but accept that we are all different and that our paths are different but we share a lot of crossings and many times we share parts of the path.
And finally as final message I would share a speech from one of my favorite comedians and heroes Bill Hicks: “Life is just a ride…”
This post is dedicated to M.