mental health issues
Every person who's walked through my office door suffering from depression, anxiety, relationship or work problems, low self-esteem or addiction has a history of some type of adversity in their childhood. It's become clear to me by listening to their stories that were it not for these painful events, the person wouldn't be struggling as much as they are, today.
Many physicians and even mental health care providers do not know about these disorders. They ostracize or act in disgust toward their clients upon hearing the about compulsive skin picking, hair pulling, nail biting and related behaviours which causes further suffering and isolation in the lives of many Canadians.
"I really didn’t want anyone to know that I was weak because that’s what I thought it was, I was going to be perceived as weak if I explained this is what I was going through."
"Just because it can't be seen, it doesn't mean damage can't be done."
There is still so much misinformation on mental illness in society, especially in the workforce and in schools, where young people and older adults are stigmatized as being unproductive, lazy or exaggerating their behavior, when really they are dealing with very real mental health issues, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Bipolar or other depressive disorders. These individuals need our help, not our judgment.
Employees dealing with job insecurity, high workloads and general workplace stress may resort to alcohol as a form of self-medication. Though fear of losing their job may cause workers to be more careful not to allow alcohol use to affect their work, the Great Recession is linked to greater alcohol use for those who are still employed.
We don't have to have been in Paris on Friday to be deeply affected by this event. What do we need to know to protect our mental wellness?
For the past six years I have been a vocal advocate about a disorder that not many people have heard of: dermatillomania. This means that I have been compulsively picking at my skin for years without any end in sight of how to break free of this chronic condition.
All this time I've been advocating to end the stigma associated with mental illness, and yet, in my own home it's a topic I speak of only when the TV is blaring and the true consequences of my disease are muffled by the sound of America's Got Talent.
As a society, we are comfortable with what we know and see. Mental illness is not often seen and too few know about it. Those who are mentally ill and seeking treatment are not only dealing with the signs and symptoms of the disease attacking their mind, but also the rejection from the teams of mental health professionals, themselves drowning beneath the paralyzing weight of bureaucracy. Unfortunately, this leaves families alone, scared, overworked, and dejected by a lack of commitment and compassion from the department of Canadian health care that is most knowledgeable about their respective illnesses.