May is the month to talk about mental health issues. Don't keep your problems to yourself...talk them out. It is mind boggling how many of us, when pressed, will admit to bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts, being on medication to control various conditions such as schizophraenia, autism, ADHD and the list goes on.
Personally, I ran into trouble after the birth of my daughter when I entered into the hell of postpartum depression. No doctor mentioned the possibility of this during the pregnancy or after. For five years I struggled with feelings of worthlessness, did the bare minimum to keep the household running, harboured feelings of guilt because I couldn't enjoy my child the way other mothers seemed to enjoy theirs. One day, sitting listlessly in front ot daytime TV, an angel mentioned her struggles with postpartum depression. I sat up straight in my chair with chills running down my spine. She was me. I was her. This was normal. I was not some evil creature who didn't deserve to live. From that day forward I began to improve. Life again held happiness and meaning. Postpartum depression has left it's mark though and I still have minor recurrances from time to time. I recognize it now and if I can't handle it on my own I will get help.
My daughter suffers from bouts of severe depression and is on medication for it. It would be so easy to judge her for the times when her home is a total disaster and her children are perhaps not cared for to the level one would expect. She is struggling to get from one day to the next. Sometimes she needs to be reminded that she needs to talk to her doctor again as the meds don't seem to be doing their job. Sometimes she needs a break from the house just for a few hours or from the kids for an afternoon.
My grandson has high functioning autism and ADHD...he also is on medication to try to control some of his outbreaks.
Mental illness is rampant in our society. One would be hard pressed to find a family that has not been affected. For every day that you are filled with joy and can enjoy your day and the people around you, remember, there is someone (probably right next to you at work or on the bus or in the store) who is living in the darkness of mental illness. Smile a lot at people, offer a friendly word to a stranger...such small things can mean the world to someone in the depths of despair. And let's talk about it.
....thanks to Susan Kane of The Contemplative Cat for reminding me that is mental health month........