There is still much stigma and confusion surrounding mental health and mental illness. It can be confusing to know which illnesses can be recovered from and which ones will remain present for life. The public, generally understands mental illness less than physical illness. Most people know that obesity can be cured by closely monitoring your diet and getting more exercise, or that AIDS is chronic, but treatable. But when it comes to psychological health, sometimes it's difficult to grasp what we are dealing with. The solution for this problem is education. Since mental illnesses affect 1 in every 5 people, it's very important that society has a solid understanding of what they are, and how they can be treated.
Most mental illnesses are very treatable and the majority of people's experience with them will be short term. Everyone goes through challenging seasons in life and everyone has a different reaction to those events and transitions through them differently. Life stage transitions, change in relationships, career related stress and anxiety can all have short term implications and can be healed fairly quickly through navigating those emotional transitions with a trained professional. However, there are much more serious and chronic mental illnesses that can remain for the duration of your life.
Severe mental illness's like Bipolar, Major Depressive Disorder, and Schizophrenia can be chronic. Although there can be periods of time where the symptoms remain dormant, they can reappear at any point. When someone is visibly mentally ill, it's easy to understand and recognize a mental illness, but people are usually less clear on what it means to be "well". If your illness is characterized by acute and sudden onset of something, for example, psychosis, mania, despairing sadness or panic - it's important to understand that months or years can pass between episodes. Just because you've stopped experiencing the symptoms of the illness, does not mean that it is gone forever. This is why it is so important to stick with your treatment plan, whatever it may be.
Typically a licensed psychologist, counselor, or clinical social worker will be the most qualified and trained to determine the severity of your mental health concern and develop a strategy to help reduce the symptoms you are experiencing and work towards recovering to a state of normalcy. Even if your condition is chronic, there are coping skills, techniques, and strategies that you can use to manage the symptoms so that you can have more of a normal life. Mental health, just like physical health, should be a priority, whether you are dealing with a brief time period of mental health difficulties or a chronic illness.
If you need to talk to someone about your mental health concern, you can get access to private, affordable, and counseling through text, email phone or video by clicking the link below.