Mental Illness: A Misunderstood Disease

Check out the blog I wrote, “Mental Illness: A Misunderstood Disease” on the site, Familiar Minds. It’s a great blog which discusses mental illness. People share their personal stories of friends and family, who have illnesses. In the blog, I share some myths that people have about mental illness. The myths are based on my experiences with friends and family, who have mental illnesses or depression. Teens should educate themselves too, since illnesses can start during the teen years. I am sharing these myths, so people can help friends and family get the help they need. As many of you may know, discussing mental health is very “hush-hush” or taboo in the African-American community, as well as other communities of color. Many people don’t want to talk about or hide it from others. I hope my blog post will encourage an open dialogue and help to alleviate the shame people have about mental illness.


Familiar Minds

I met Jen a little over a year ago at a leadership seminar hosted by the organization where I work in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  I immediately connected with her and her young daughter Dawn.  Little did I know, Jen and I would share a deeper connection over both having a loved one with mental illness.  In this piece, Jen takes on the many misconceptions about mental illness.  An honest reflection on one’s own misconceptions and ignorance is most definitely  a prerequisite for eliminating the stigma of mental illness.

Mental Illness: A Misunderstood Disease

If you think mental illness is like the 1970s Jack Nicholson movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” then you may need to update your knowledge of mental illness. Like Beyonce said, “Let me upgrade you.”   There are many books and organizations to help you learn more about this misunderstood illness.  Understanding the kinds of depression…

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3 thoughts on “Mental Illness: A Misunderstood Disease

  1. 1800 2GO-NUTS1800 CRZY-@SS1800 TIME-OUTTo answer your aautcl question, there are a few mental health hotline numbers out there but most people who are reaching out for help to a hotline just call 911. That is why most dispatches have the code 5150 to get these people the aid they need.

    1. I literally wrote a ltteer to my Mom, telling her that if she did it I would leave immediately. Every time. No matter the occasion. I told her in no uncertain terms exactly what the situation was, and what it was she was doing. I told her that I was sending a copy of the ltteer to each of my siblings (and did so) so that if and when I just got up and left, they would know exactly why.Mom didn’t deign to speak to me for months. When she did, she played it off as though nothing had happened, until later when she got after me with her accusations of me making threats . In the time since that ltteer I have left multiple times once while we were all together for birthdays and once on Easter.The only response I’ve heard from my siblings is chastisement. Remember, I just get melodramatic to them.I can’t think of a a more direct confrontation than putting it in writing. I can’t think of a better way to try to confront this problem. I’m at the point where I must simply stay away from most of my family, and if you’ve read the rest of this blog, you can imagine how completely crippling that will be for me. My family is my single strongest connection I have to the broad sweep of humanity. I lose them, I am alone.Since a few weeks before Easter this year, when she sat down and gave me a little speech about how entirely justified and correct her actions were the previous Easter (e.g. no reason not to do it again, presumably), I have been obsessed with this single issue. Thus the vivid nightmare. Thus the growing knot in my gut. (I’m carrying so much stress physically that I’ve how do I phrase this all but ceased vacating without taking a pill for it.)I can walk away, but at what cost?

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