Levels of Mental Illness

With the onslaught of the Great Recession, it seems that the prevalence rates of mental illness have risen over the past decade or so. Or maybe the awareness surrounding it has increased. A lot of fellow bloggers seem to know what mental illness is and what it’s like to live with one (or more) of the following conditions: Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, BPD, OCD, Bipolar, Autism, PTSD, or any of the other 289 Disorders listed in the DSM-V.

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What nobody seems to talk about (at least not in the blogosphere) is that there are different levels of severity and intensity in having a mental illness. Sure, a lot of the manifesting symptoms may be similar in multiple patients, but one person may be suffering a lot more than another.

I feel like it’s important to mention this because knowledge is power. The power to get better. Knowledge also leads to awareness, which is ultimately necessary to curb the afflictions you may find yourself in, in my humble opinion.

In relation to the topic at hand, knowing that there are varying levels of mental illness can aid you in the recovery or healing process. When you become aware of how severely you’re drowning in pain, sorrow, sadness or any emotional discomfort – that’s when you realize at which stage of health or illness you’re at.

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Speaking personally, I’ve had an episode of chronic depression (in 2012) which lasted for almost an entire year; with recurrent nightmares, constant self-critical negative and suicidal thoughts, total isolation from everyone I knew, lethargic behavior and excessive sleep.

While nowadays, it’s a lot better in retrospect. I’m fairly active, have a healthy lifestyle, stay in touch with friends and family, and generally feel pretty good about myself and life. Occasionally, I still do get bouts of mild depression, along with spikes in anxiety (especially in social situations) and it’s likely that I may have PTSD. But overall, I know first hand that there are progressive stages in how we’re able to deal with life’s problems and our own personal distress.


As for the million dollar question: How do I/you/we get better?

Well, the common answers would be: Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, sports, psychiatric medications, therapy, spiritual beliefs, getting out of your comfort zone, and anything else you may read in self-help or psychology articles/books.

The real answer is probably something else: you have to want to get better. You have to make it happen. It’s a very hard thing to hear and it sucks when someone tells you this, but there’s almost certainly an inkling of truth in it.

It doesn’t mean that you’ve got to do it alone, far from it. I’ve witnessed how people love to help one another and there are a lot of compassionate people in this world, far more than we like to believe. One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi:

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Especially the WordPress community. Which is like super-friendly for the most part and very supportive of each other, so thank you all for being so great.

Just to conclude, my older brother used to say how “we all have [mental] problems”. While this seems to be true, I like to believe that “for every problem, there is a solution”. We all have some level of discomfort, uneasiness and potential illness within our lives; whether it affects us directly or someone we care about. The important thing is to keep on going, no matter what. To hang in there when darkness shows its face. To break free from the chains which anxiety tries to lock us in. To know that healing is possible. And ultimately, to live a life worth living. With love.

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35 thoughts on “Levels of Mental Illness

    1. Ah, those are great points PD! I probably forgot to mention somethings while writing this (admittedly a bit tipsy).

      Anyways, I guess it’s all about perspective and how we choose to look at things. Thank you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Great post and I do believe you have to want to get better. And it is so true that illness changes in severity. Glad your depression has lessened. Just over 2 years ago I was still very ill with OCD and was doing checking rituals 7-8 hours a day. I still have OCD but it is so much better through therapy and medication that it is barely a disorder any more.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Caroline and a great point about belief – in wanting to get better. Glad to see that this post resonated with you. Well, sorry to hear that you struggle(d) with OCD, but good to hear that it’s gotten better somehow through therapy and medication. Happy holidays xo

        Like

  1. The day I decided I no longer wanted to be a victim was the day my life began to change. I realized I wanted to get better and no one could do it but me. The only savior I had was me. I am not saying I did not have help and support, I had plenty. When it came right down to it, it was truly up to me. A good friend who was my biggest support during my mental illness, today asked me if I would be willing to counsel someone she knows who is suffering. I almost could not believe it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly what I’m talking about Michelle! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this short story about yourself, it aids a lot to the discussion. I completely agree with what you’ve written here and so glad to hear about the latest positive developments. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course I love this post! It’s important to talk about mental illness because it’s prevalent and will always be prevalent to everyday society worldwide. The most important note of this entire post (all of it was good) was when you said, “you have to want to get better. You have to make it happen”, because that’s when real change and progress can happen. We have to maintain hope even in the darkest of times because darkness doesn’t last forever. I just wrote a post on this very subject yesterday on my BayArt account. Yet, since the sites’ revision I’m not sure how to navigate within it but all the same, you and I are different on the same page.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amber. 🙂 Yea, especially since there were a lot of posts directed at increasing Mental Health Awareness this week, I really wanted to post something about it.

      Love your feedback, really appreciate it. That line in particular about “the real answer” is probably one of the best points here. Your last sentence reminds me of this quote by Carl Sagan: “An extraterrestrial visitor, looking at the differences among human beings and their societies, would find those differences trivial compared to the similarities.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post! Thank you for posting!!!
    I have my blog up about my OCD; I’d love if you’d check it out. “breathinglifewithocd.com”.. I have had severe OCD since I was around 14 and I’m 24 now. Thank you for your post here and I think your site is awesome!
    Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback!! 🙂

      Sure, will definitely check it out and follow you back. Sorry to hear about your OCD, must be tough.

      Really kind and generous of you for passing by, take care as well! Peace 😉

      Like

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