April 19, 2018 by Carleah East

The stigma often attached to mental illness can present a serious barrier toward diagnosis treatment and acceptance within the community.

What is Stigma?

It is typically described as the shame or disgrace attached to something regarded as socially unacceptable.

It’s about time we stamp out stigma.

Here’s what some Mental Illnesses really look like:

  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Significant changes in weight
  • Irritability
  • Self-hatred
  • Problems concentrating
  • Unexplained aches and pains

It is important to ask, “Are all of the above symptoms of depression????

There is more to recognizing Mental Illness. For Example:

BiPolar Disorder BPD  – also known as Manic Depression is defined by
Healthguide.org as serious shifts in

  • Mood
  • Energy
  • Thinking
  • Behavior

One can experience the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other.

The extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder can hurt your job and school performance, damage your relationships and disrupt your daily life. But you’re not powerless when it comes to mania and depression.

Understanding the signs and symptoms and seeking professional help are the first steps to feeling better. Additionally, it’s important to surround yourself with people you can count on, make healthy lifestyle choices, and monitor your moods. With good coping skills and a solid support system, you can live a fulfilled, productive life while keeping the symptoms of bipolar disorder in check.

Myths and facts about bipolar disorder

Here are a few Myths vs Facts on bipolar from the article “Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms???

  • Myth: People with bipolar disorder can’t get better or lead a normal life.
    Fact:  Many people with bipolar disorder have successful careers, happy family lives, and satisfying relationships. Living with bipolar disorder is challenging, but with treatment, healthy coping skills, and a solid support system, you can live happily while managing your
  • Myth: People with bipolar disorder swing back and forth between mania and depression.
    Fact:   Some people alternate between extreme episodes of mania and depression, but most are depressed more often than they are manic. Mania may also be so mild that it goes unrecognized. People with bipolar disorder often experience long stretches without symptoms.
  • Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects mood.
    Fact:   Bipolar disorder also affects your energy levels, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem. Additionally, bipolar disorder has been linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems such as diabetes, heart disease,
    migraines, and high blood pressure.
  • Myth: Aside from taking and staying on medication, there is nothing you can do to control bipolar disorder.
    Fact:  While medication is the foundation of bipolar disorder treatment, therapy, and self-help strategies also play important roles. You can help control your symptoms by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating right, monitoring your moods, keeping stress to a minimum, and surrounding yourself with supportive people.

At the end of the day, you have the opportunity to control your perceptions of your diagnosis as well as your coping strategies.  Remember mental illness is not who you are, it’s just a part of the whole you. So, take control over your mental illness and stop letting it define you!

If you are experiencing and of the above and need help to work through them and take back control of your life, call to schedule an intake session to further explore how you can reach your full potential in life, contact me today to schedule your appointment.  


The content on this site is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for psychological, medical, legal or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. For issues concerning mental health, you are invited to schedule an appointment with Dr. East or her team. S.M.I.L.E. is focused on assisting individuals and families with many challenges from, overcoming everyday stressors, to healing from traumatic events.

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