Recovery in mental health is continuous. A health care professional once told me “once a mental health patient will always be a mental health patient” I was dismayed and shocked. I asked why? He said most people only touched the surface of their mental health issues. He went on digging deeper entails talking therapy to reach the root of the problem but people tend to employ avoidance strategies by sweeping things under the carpet.
Mental health issues onset is always a combination of factors: Predisposing factors, Precipitating factors, and Environmental factors. Medication help with the biological however taking the bulls by the horn in form of getting to the genesis of the problem help a great deal. My mental health improved significantly after my talking therapy which prepared me for what I’m doing now.
I strongly employ people reading this post to talk more about their mental health. Talking is the best medicine. I would like to thank my Psychologist for an excellent job well done. All the strategies you thought me during the sessions are my coping mechanisms now.
Mental health diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and recovery are subject to the culture and society one belongs. In some cultures mental health is seen as demonic, mystical, biological, environmental, and as a consequence of ones misdeeds in previous life. Caveat the aim of this post is to set mental health talk rolling, no intention to cause offence, nor make inflammatory remarks.
Research have shown that in developing countries, mental health is more likely seen, to be caused by other factors, rather than biological. This is due to beliefs, ignorance, and lack of knowledge. However the well educated ones tend to lean on the school of thought of it being caused by genetic predisposition, coupled with environmental factors, and is treatable, and that one can live a meaningful, purposeful and satisfying life.
Conclusively, I will like to emphasise, having lived with mental health issues for more than two decades, as well as see my two very close relative suffer from the same diagnosis. I have to concur that mental health issues is biological (Genetics) and environmental factors triggers it. This is my opinion any contrary views and opinions are very welcome.
Mental Health & Loneliness. Mental health issues are severe, enduring, and in most cases lifelong is not an overstatement. Comparing Psychosis to other terminal physical illness that attract sympathy, love, empathy, and acceptance from the populace is not an over-exaggeration.
However a diagnosis of mental health issues make you loose friends, acquaintances, relatives, work colleagues, and social status because of the stigma associated with mental health diagnosis, either Neurosis or Psychosis. Most people are prohibited from even seeing there own children, despite the fact a holistic and comprehensive assessment found them to be no risk to anyone.
If you are reading this post. I will kindly employ you, to befriend at least one person, with a diagnosis of mental health issues. Make phone calls, establish relationships, let them know they are being loved. The media can help too, by positively reporting on mental health. The worst thing to happen to any human being is Isolation, ostracisation, avoidance, and loss of social status due to mental health issues.
Mental Health & Healthy Relationships.
A healthy relationship accelerate mental health recovery is not only factual, but underpin by both scientific and empirical research. However only few people, with a diagnosis of severe mental health issues can boast of a healthy relationship. The reasons for this are multifaceted, due to time being of the essence, I will dwell on a few.
Stigma stifle relationships. Most people hesitate to enter into a relationship with someone with mental health issues, for fear of associated stigma. Moreover the society is very biased and guilty of double standards, when it comes to dealing with people with mental health issues and relationships. Society uses derogatory words and innuendos against the party with mental health issues, thereby creating fear in the person without a diagnosis. This is most cases end the relationship.
The media portrayal of people, with a diagnosis of mental health issues, as dangerous, fuel the animosity against them, thereby preventing them from being loved. Lack of knowledge of mental health issues as well as stereotypes of people with mental health issues are misunderstood. Discrimination either direct or indirect act as an impediment in establishing a relationship. People with mental health issues, are like every other human beings, and we all have a bit of mental health issues, is the degree and severity, of it that is different. To deny and deprive people of love and a relationship, due to mental health is inhuman and nefarious.
Mental Health Misconception & Misinformation. There is an enormous misconception and misinformation about mental health issues. Mental health is not contagious, is senseless and selfish to avoid us because you can never ever contract it. People with mental health issues are not more aggressive than those without a diagnosis. It takes both 90 minutes to calm down when provoked. I mean when the hormone adrenaline is released and your body is in flight/fight mode.
Psychosis especially schizophrenia is not split personality. Is a mental issue characterised with positive and negative symptoms. One can live a meaningful, fulfilling and purposeful life with the diagnosis, with the right support and treatment. This diagnosis is not a life sentence. Contrary to most people beliefs, that you cannot function with the diagnosis. I know many high flyers who have the diagnosis, but due to stigma do not disclose it.
People with mental health issues can be excellent, friendly, compassionate and lovely parents. They are productive and contribute to the society. Depression is not sadness, that you expect people to snap out from it. Show love and empathy to someone with a diagnosis of clinical depression and anxiety. People with mental health issues are not lazy, is the symptoms coupled with horrendous medication side-effects that prevent them from full functioning. Mental health recovery journey is continuous. Support and love is all we need, to help us achieve and actualise our goals in life.
Mental Health & Body Shaming.
Body Shaming subject the victims to life long mental and psychological harm. Experience have shown that people body shamed, have low self esteem as well as suicidal tendencies. Living with mental health issues and on medication, either antipsychotic or antidepressants causes weight gain due to increased appetite and other side effects like (gynecomastia) enlarged breast in men. To subject us to ridicule and body shaming which in turn exacerbate our symptoms is, dehumanising and unjust. This is one of the reasons, most people do not adhere strictly to their medication.
Society promotes body shaming by only recognising, and accolading people with certain physical and mental characteristics. I would like to emphasise that nobody is perfect. We are all unique in shape and form. Victims of body shaming, need a fortitude and resilience which exceeds reasonable standards to excel, without any detrimental effect to them. If you are reading this post ,and you are a victim of body shaming just remember you are unique, special, wonderful, exceptional and extraordinary. Stand up tall and live your life.
Mental Health & Family.
Family either immediate or extended, promote and accelerate mental health recovery is a statement of fact. The objective of this post, is to thank all the families globally, who support, care for us, when we are in relapse, distress, or when suffering from our symptoms.
I must Confess, it’s an arduous and monumental task. We can sometimes be demanding, but you still choose to love us. Words are not enough, to express our appreciation, gratitude, admiration and love. To those, who see us as a black sheep, and a reproach to the family. Remember, we did not bring this on ourselves. I will strongly employ you to change, and love us because love is all we need. Remember even at our lowest ebb, at our bad days, even when we are fully overwhelmed with symptoms, we still know who love us. Always remember, we are one family. Please don’t allow mental health Issues to tear us apart.
Mental Health & Employment.
The capability to work, while living with a diagnosis of mental health issues, is not only healing, healthy, rewarding, and promote recovery, but also help to booster ones confidence. However, there are numerous obstacles, preventing us from reaching our full potential in the work environment. I know there are employers, as well as charities, who publicly claimed to be mental health friendly, however, in practice, covert, overt, and sophisticated discrimination is the norm.
The least qualified, rather get the job and promotion instead of us. What a disgrace? I know there are legislation, that protect us from discrimination, like The Equality Act 2010 in the UK. However a declaration of mental health issue, on an application attract refusal. Moreover most of us that get the job are ridiculed. We are never taken seriously. Why are we treated this way? It must stop. The solution is to keep taking about mental health. The more the awareness, the more stigma will be confined to abyss. Our goal is parity of physical health, and mental health, and we will be triumphant, for we are survivors, we will never give up.
Being diagnosed with Psychosis an enduring and severe mental health issue to most people is a conviction to a life of misery, hopelessness and cognitive bankruptcy is not a overstatementHowever I decided from my first psychotic episode in 1993 that I will not allow my life to be ruined by my diagnosis. Optimism and Hope became my two favourite words. I was determined to fight this scourge from day one.
I must confess it was at first Achilles Heel But a combination of the following factors enabled me to live a purposeful, fulfilling, meaningful and satisfying life. Adhering strictly to my prescribed medical intervention which were both psychological and pharmacological inputs. Listening to all genre of music help me to manage my symptoms. Work. I was taught by my late father that "There is no food for a lazy man" at a very tender age. Being able to work enabled me and helps in my recovery journey. Caveat is impossible to work when overwhelmed with both positive and negative symptoms.
Excellent protective factors. Especially my wife and children who supported me and accepted my diagnosis. Education. I knew from my pre morbid state that knowledge is the key to empowerment. Reading law and qualifying as a nurse gave me the necessary and pertinent armoury in my intellectual arsenal to fight my diagnosis. Always remember the foregoing is not a magic bullet but it helped in my recovery journey. I have a very strong personality and tend to thrive in adversity and calamity. We at Johnson Ozegin Foundation urge you to avoid self-fulfilling prophesy and self defeatism instead replace it with Optimism and Hope.
Healthy eating play a pivotal and pertinent role in mental health. Research shows people with serious mental health issues and especially those on antipsychotics medications are more likely to have their life span reduced by 25 years due to plethora of side-effects including metabolic syndrome a side-effect of taking antipsychotic. However this can be controlled by eating healthily and wisely.
Most antipsychotic medication induced hunger and care must be taken to eat wisely and healthily to minimise damage to ones health. I was once obese due to an antipsychotic medication. I could not stop eating and I was mostly eating junk food and my cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar went over the roof. Until the medication was changed I have to be on antihypertensive medication. However today I know better because of my acquired knowledge and listening to other people who suffered similar problem.
Folks I know is not easy to change ones eating habit however considering the longterm effect of binge and unhealthy eating especially when on some antipsychotic medication. I will strongly advice medication review as well as eating healthy.
I benefited from third generation antipsychotic and my food cravings is minimal. I must put a caveat here that what work for me may not work for you however let us endeavour to watch what we eat. Kudos to all the people who promote healthy eating. Please never ever stop taking your prescribed antipsychotic because it helps to keep your symptoms under control.