Thursday, April 23, 2015

a bit on mental illness

I'm pretty sure this is about to be a soapbox post. Sorry in advance. But not that sorry.

For nearly a year and a half, I worked at a treatment center for teenage girls with emotional, mental, and behavioral issues. I interacted with so many amazing yet troubled girls who just wanted to be understood and loved. I learned so much about mental illness, more than I ever did while reading about it in textbooks in college classes.

Today I was reflecting on this experience and thinking about how mental illness is still so misunderstood in our society. While I personally have not suffered from a mental illness, I have worked very closely and had some very hard conversations with some people who do struggle with mental illnesses. While reflecting, I ended up thinking about one girl specifically that I have worked with. She has severe depression and borderline personality disorder. I started thinking about all the conversations we had where she would be fighting with her own mind, struggling to regain control. I wanted to try to put into words what I observed in these conversations with her, as well as conversations I had with other girls with similar issues. I do not claim to know what it is like to have either of these disorders, but I wanted to put into words what I have observed in conversations with clients and what I perceive is going through their mind on a daily basis.

This is my attempt to both understand and explain what may be going through the mind of a person with depression and borderline personality disorder. As with any mental illness, there are good days and there are bad days, but this pattern of thinking in circles and unconnected thoughts seems to be something that happens to a lot of the girls I've worked with. I can't even imagine how difficult it is to try to control those thoughts and that is why I am in this line of work - I want to do everything in my power to help people figure out how to help themselves.

It is so difficult to live with a mental illness, and I have so much love and compassion for every person I have worked with that struggles with one. I just want all people to understand a little bit more, so they can be a little bit more accepting. Mental illness is a real issue that so many people struggle with, live with, and succeed with. I think it is so important for everyone to look at themselves and see if they can be more understanding and compassionate in regards to mental illness.

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