Has your mental illness ever been called to question because of the way you look and carry yourself? Have you ever heard someone say something along the lines of, “If you saw them you’d never guess they were mentally ill?” or, “They look OK to me, what have they got to worry about?”.
In this article, I’m going to speak about the impartial nature of Mental Illness and why we can’t base someone’s mental state by the way they appear to be.
What is Mental Illness?
Everyone has mental health but not everyone has a mental illness.
Mental health is the condition of a person’s psychological and emotional well-being, whereas mental illness is a mental pattern which causes discomfort and impairment of personal functioning. Mental illness can also be referred to as, mental disorder or psychiatric disorder. A mental disorder doesn’t have one causing factor, but rather is very complex in the way that it can manifest in each person, such causes may include:
- Genetic makeup
- Environmental factors
- Psychological impairment
- Substance misuse
Around 450 million people currently suffer from mental health conditions with one in four of us experiencing a mental health problem each year in the UK, it is inevitable that we all know someone/ know of someone affected by mental illness. Mental health is something that affects us every day and in every aspect of our lives, so it’s of great importance that everyone is aware of their mental health and getting the correct support they need in order to function as well as they can.
The impartial nature of mental illness
The symptoms that a person may show could range from being obvious; changes in mood, personal habits and practicing things out of their nature. On the other hand, mental illness could be barely noticeable; occurring as single episode relapses which then makes mental illness hard to detect and could potentially go undiagnosed for some time or even misdiagnosed.
For instance, two people might be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder but their symptoms may differ. One individual might have symptoms such as; lack of speech, social withdrawal, and have a naturally meek disposition, whereas another person might be quite confident in nature, always holding their head high but suffer heart palpitations and avoid eye contact at the moment of close social encounters. You see, both people have a diagnosis of the same mental disorder but carry their illnesses differently.
Mental Illness doesn’t have a look
At the start of this article, I mentioned just some of the determining factors of Mental illness but there are also over 200 different types of individual mental illnesses. Mental illnesses may have overlapping ‘common’ symptoms but because of the difference in every single person’s determining factors it would be ignorant to say, “If a person doesn’t act a certain way or have a stereotypical ‘look’ then they can’t possibly suffer from Mental illness”.
To conclude, it’s impossible for mental illness to be partial. The nature of mental illness is way too complex for it to have a ‘look’. Anyone can suffer from mental illness, regardless of; race, age, gender, social status, financial status, upbringing.
Mental illness isn’t a simple choice of saying what clothing you’ll wear for today, but rather an impairment in the brain that can at any time affect anyone of us.
Mental illness isn’t exclusive to one kind. Everyone has mental health, therefore, everyone’s mental health is at a potential risk of worsening, worsening can then cause the development of mental illness over time due to the absence of a correct diagnosis and treatment by a mental health professional.
Articles to look out for this month
- Anxiety & Art PT.1
- Managing mental health and where to get help? – 3 Part Article for this month
- New Tag Alert (excited to create a fun TAG for this month)
- Pick Me Up suggestions + MORE
World Mental Health Day is fast approaching, 10th October.
Throughout this month I’ll be focussing on Mental Health Awareness; writing posts and sharing art in light of World Mental Health Day.
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