May is the month our nation focuses on one of the most devastating, puzzling family illnesses ever — mental illness. Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily function. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).
We have loved ones in our family suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and depression. Mental illness is truly a family disease that impacts both family members, extended family, neighbors, co-workers and friends.
Sadly our society attaches a stigma to mental illness. It is a disease like cancer, diabetes, autism and multiple sclerosis. It is a disease of the brain. However, those with mental illness are often labeled “crazy” by those outside the disease who have no understanding of its dimension and impact.
During May I will be writing occasionally about our family’s experience with mental illness and our efforts to live normal lives.
My heartfelt prayer is that God will raise awareness of the seriousness and pervasiveness of mental illness. My personal goal is to educate my beloved FHG readers about mental illness. I want to erase some of the horrible stigma plaguing our efforts to cope and heal from the devastating effects of mental illness.
How does God get the glory in our struggles with mental illness? You’ll see this month as you read how God works in the midst of our struggles.
For more information on mental illness visit the NAMI website.