My Broken Mind

My Broken Mind

I suffer from depression. From time to time my mood drops and I find it almost impossible to motivate myself to do anything. These spells can last anything from a few hours to several months.

I’ve taken medication for it in the past. It doesn’t cure it, it just alters my brain chemistry to even out the peaks and troughs in my emotional state.

You see, a mental illness like depression is rather like a physical illness such as arthritis. Medication can alleviate symptoms, and it can flare up or go into remission for a while. Things you do and your environment can affect it.

But there’s one important difference between a physical illness and a mental one: too many people see mental illness as something unwholesome, a taint on the person affected. This stigma causes prejudice and abuse.

It’s used as an excuse for firing people from their jobs, for isolating them socially. All these things inflict further harm.

Then there’s the ableist responses, common to any invisible disability (yes, a mental illness is a disability: it affects your ability to function in a variety of different ways). I’ve been told to “get over it”, to “make an effort”, to be thankful “there’s nothing really wrong wth me”.

In a way there is nothing “wrong” with me. There’s nothing shameful in suffering from a mental illness: it’s not a judgement on my character. I just have depression. My mind is not completely healthy.

It’s long past time that mental illness was seen in the same terms as physical illness: as something requiring support, not judgement.

So instead of avoiding someone who is mentally ill, instead of fearing, abusing and harming them, be a friend to them. Support them and help them with some of the day-to-day things that they’re not able to cope with. Let them know they’re not on their own.

Mental illness can be isolating. It’s hard to ask for help, to approach people, and when we do the last thing we need is to be ignored or turned away. So don’t. Be there. Be a friend. Support those with mental illness.

Thank you.

4 thoughts on “My Broken Mind

  1. Maybe it’s not the mind that is broken but instead an incomplete education leading to understanding, starting from the day we are born and influenced by a society that has a ‘broken humanity’. A friend recently told me that after a lifetime of observation of other people, he is thinking of opening a Listening Center, where people have an opportunity to talk about anything and everything with little, if any, feed-back depending on their preference. An experiment with no recommendations, referrals, judgments, no designations into ‘boxed-psyches’, just an opportunity for people to express themselves, knowing they have an interested person who cares, listen to them. We need to love ourselves more (and often.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I chose the title of this post as a parallel to physical injury such as a broken bone. Because of depression my mind is broken in the sense that it restricts me, like a broken leg restricts someone’s mobility. But rather than my mobility it is my thoughts, emotions and sensations that are hampered. While I am in a state of depression everything I experience of life is toned down, subdued, lessened.

      The problem is not expressing myself: I am able to do that perfectly well and have an understanding and supportive wife. I know the main root cause of my depression, but it is something that remains beyond my control to resolve. I remain dependent on the actions of others to move forward beyond this point in my life. That causes me dissatisfaction and frustration: I feel stuck in a limbo with no obvious prospect of release.

      Liked by 1 person

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