3 Mental Illnesses To Acknowledge On World Mental Health Day

Happy World Mental Health Day everyone! Mental health plays a critical role in our everyday lives. And while mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are generally being more talked about (as they should be), it’s time we reduce the stigma around less discussed mental illnesses as well. Some of these mental illnesses include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

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The National Institute of Mental Health defines schizophrenia as “a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.” This illness has many symptoms, the defining ones being paranoia and psychosis (hallucinations). People with this disorder can be out of touch with reality, and unable to differentiate between what is real from what is fake. Often what is a figment of their imagination clouds their judgment and they perceive that to be true. This makes it an incredibly disabling illness that approximately one percent of the world's population unfortunately has to live with for the rest of their lives, even while being on medications such as antipsychotic drugs. Therefore it’s important that we be more empathetic towards those who have it, rather than label them something degrading such as “crazy” for having something they can’t control.

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Bipolar disorder is an episodic mental illness characterized by fluctuating periods of mania (extreme energy and elation) and depression (feelings of hopelessness). There are three major types of bipolar disorder known as bipolar 1, bipolar 2, and cyclothymic disorder. Individuals with bipolar 1 alternate between these periods of depression and mania. Those with bipolar 2 however switch between periods of depression and hypomania, which is a less severe form of mania. Lastly, people with cyclothymic disorder experience emotional highs and lows but not ones as severe as those with bipolar 1 and 2. Bipolar causes many people to act impulsively during their manic states and feel very unmotivated during their depressive ones. It’s hard for them and those around them because they can erratically switch from one state to the other for long periods of time and act differently according to the state they are in, so it is vital that we don’t get mad at them for acting a certain way they can’t control.

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Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that disables people from regulating emotion properly. Those with this disorder can have many mood swings, and their actions may reflect this. This illness often causes people to have unstable relationships with their loved ones since they are constantly fearful of abandonment and will do anything to prevent it. They also can change their views on people very quickly, being affectionate towards an individual one day then spiteful towards them the next. They can be very impulsive and can engage in many reckless behaviors at any given moment, especially when they are triggered by negative relationship events. This is not to be confused with bipolar disorder in which a person is impulsive during manic episodes. If someone you know has this disorder, it is crucial to recognize that they cannot restrain themselves from certain things they say or do, as irrational as those actions may seem.

These are just a couple of the many mental illnesses out there but hopefully, you come to realize that many people, unfortunately, battle such disorders every day. The World Health Organization says that one in four people will be impacted by a mental illness within their lifetime, therefore it is imperative that we as a society should raise more awareness about mental disorders, especially ones such as these that are often overlooked. In the end, we should just be kinder to one another because you never know one’s circumstances and how difficult it is for them to deal with them.

If you feel that you or someone you know may be affected by any of the disorders mentioned above, or would even just like to find out more information about mental illnesses in general, click here to learn more.