There is a growing misconception and misinformation about mental health illness. Most people think or believe a diagnosis of mental health problem especially psychosis is a life sentence to misery. However this is not always the case. People with mental health problem can thrive with the right support.
I was told by a friend recently “I did not know you have mental illness” My answer was Yes I do and I take my medication religiously, and we all have mental health needs, is the degree and severity that differs. Most people expect you to exhibit bizarre and abnormal behaviour to align with the stereotypes of the public perception of someone with mental health needs. The media also purports a very negative image about people with mental health issues. There are millions of people living with psychosis and other mental health needs but live a fulfilling and productive life.
There are a lot of high functioning people living with mental health issues including Lady Gaga, Stephen Fry, Late Nobel Laureate John Nash, Demi Lovato, Clarke Carlisle, Professor Elyn Saks. Mental health needs does not turn you to be a murderer or monster of ingratitude in life, is the society who perpetrate and fan the embers of stigma as well as the media promoting negativity bias by headlining horrible and horrendous stories about people with mental health issues who in most cases due to underlying substance misuse carry out unpalatable acts.
In todays blog I want to talk about Torture and Mental Health.Torture either physical or psychological is a trigger for mental health problem. People who have undergone any form of torture are psychologically scared and in extreme cases damaged for life. From my point of view the torture I experienced in the hands of the Germans triggered my mental health issue. For me anytime I have a flash back about my experience of torture or watch or see anything relating to torture on the media it triggers my mental health problem. I believe there are so many people out there who have had similar experiences as mine and I will like you to share your experiences.
I have tried everything including (EMDR) Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy, (CBT) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, both therapies helped me. Kudos to my Therapist for her support and psychological expertise which is second to none however the pain, trauma, humiliation, agony, undignified treatment, psychological and physical torture remains indelible from my memory. But the techniques my therapist taught me during the therapy sessions coupled with my prescribed medication help me manage my traumatic experiences. A million thanks to Johnson & Johnson and sister company Janseen Cilag for producing effective and potent pharmaceutical products.
One key point I want to bring to your attention is that any form of torture is against the law either here in the UK or internationally. However, a lot of people tend to get away with it. My goal is that we can come together and advocate on behalf of people still going through this ordeal.
People with mental health needs are not weak the perpetrators of torture are. Stop Torture.
Diagnosis of mental health needs either Neurosis or Psychosis can have a profound effect on relationship either Platonic, Romantic, Employment, Family both immediate and extended because of the “monster stigma” associated with mental health needs. We all have health needs either physical or mental however mental health needs tend to attract more repugnancy and stigma because of Ignorance and stereotypes.
Commencing a relationship can be very daunting and nearly impossible with mental health needs. However there are very lovely and knowledgeable people out there who will empathise and love you for who you are not who you are suppose to be. Under this category come my soulmate who from day one supported and motivated me. I am always open about my mental health needs. On our first date I told her about my mental health needs and she said “I do not have a problem with your mental health needs. I am a social worker by trade and I know from my training that people with mental health needs are just as normal as every other person in the society. 1 in 4 have a mental health needs.” I was over the moon and thank God for sending me an angel who have all humanistic values and unconditional love for me.
However extended family has been another kettle of fish. I almost sacrificed my life for my extended family at the detriment of my immediate family but some of them choose to treat me with contempt, disdain and disrespect because of my labelling and the associative stigma to them even though they are very religious and suppose to exemplify the unconditional love of God. I am Johnson not Psychosis. I was abused as a child both physical, psychological, emotional and sexual as well as tortured during my adulthood in Nigeria and Germany all these culminated and triggered my psychotic phenomena. My people they say perish for lack of knowledge. I will like to use this opportunity to categorically emphasise that someone with physical health needs is not better than me with mental health needs. You may have problem with your Digestive, Endocrine, Integumentary, Reproductive, and Respiratory systems etc, and I only have Nervous system needs. I strongly recommend an orientation to reality and the acquisition of knowledge to cure my extended family of this myopic judgemental tendencies.
I have lost friends due to my openness with my mental health needs and stigmatisation. However I am not bothered because I know my best friend will always be with me until the end of time. I have accomplished a lot in life and I have no regret. I will always and forever be open about my mental health needs. Mental health needs is not an impediment stigma is.
Join me in the fight to stop mental health stigma.