After I came to terms with my diagnosis, I began doing more and more research on the topic of mental illness and mental health. I wanted to know what kind of information was available, and was there a glimmer of hope that could be shed on my situation. Would I eventually be a person who would end up in a hospital with a grim future to look forward to? The thoughts were sad and depressing.
In my research, I came across the Ted Talks video that was presented by Elyn Saks on her experience living with schizophrenia, which is a chronic mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. While this disorder is not as common as many of the other mental illnesses, this can be very disabling. As I watched her speak about her mental condition, her experiences, and her accomplishments, she gave me hope. She is a law, psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences professor at USC Gould School of Law, she is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego; and faculty at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. She received her law degree from Yale Law School and her PhD from New Center for Psychoanalysis. She is quite an accomplished scholar. She has written many books and published several articles.
She gave me hope that I can live a good life despite having a mental health disorder. Let me be clear about something, living well with a mental disorder does takes lots of patience, and hard work, but it is definitely worth it. You are not doomed, and your life is not over. Once the shock and denial of this type of diagnosis wears off, that is when the real work can begin.
The stigma of mental illness in my opinion is the deterrent of so many people to living their best lives.
There is still so much shame and embarrassment around these illnesses and are often looked at as less serious than other illnesses. The time has come to have these conversations about mental illness and educate all of those who are afraid and uneducated about the subject.