So, people who know me know that I’m not an online poster or commenter. I guess its part of my “social anxiety” is that I worry about sharing personal information online. Saying that however, I am an avid online information consumer. I am in awe of people who have the ability to clearly articulate and share their experiences online. It opens up whole communities to learn about and empathize with family and friends who are daily challenged by mental illness. Sarah’s blog, has given me clear insight into the daily struggles of people who have mental illness.
Having a mental illness is to a degree like having cancer. There are all different kinds, different symptoms, different treatments. So too with mental illness… there is a whole spectrum of disorders and levels from anxiety, depression to severe schizophrenia. Society embraces cancer patients with empathy and strength. However, that as Sarah aptly points out, being diagnosed with a mental illness is where the similarities end – with the stigma of “the diagnosis”! The difficulties just finding doctors to get a proper diagnosis, the availability of treatments and the access to systemic supports that maybe available are extraordinarily challenging for unaffected people to access let alone those enduring a mental illness. They often suffer from the inability and the lack of a “toolkit” to find these supports or reach out depending upon their illness.
The effects of mental illness are not only challenging for the person but also for the family and friends of the afflicted. Having a close family member or friend who struggles daily, can be emotionally challenging and draining to know how to best support them. Sarah talks about how lucky she is to have such a strong support system. She is!
I know the Polar Express has many ups and downs for the Polar Bear to ride on. But, Sarah, please, keep sharing. Sharing is cathartic but it may also help others and their friends and families too.
Sarah, I’m in awe it is a lot for a bear to bear!
Thank you for following the blog, sharing with us and being part of the conversation. This is one of the exact reasons I started writing this blog. I encourage others to submit posts that they would like to have featured on this blog as well. Until next time & with love,
The Polar Bear