All About Mental Health and Illness

Today, mental illness has become far more widespread than physical illness.

According to an old report, in the USA one out of every twenty persons goes to a mental hospital at least once in his or her lifetime. And this number has increased with the passage of time. Social psychologist, Erich Fromm has written a book titled, The SaneSociety. He begins with giving statistics of prevalent crime rate-thefts, murders, rapes etc. – in USA and concludes that the whole society has become insane. He says that we are living not in a mentally healthy or sane society but in an insane society.

The unfortunate thing is that this fact is not generally recognized. Even if others think that a particular person is mentally unhealthy, in most cases the individual concerned would not accept it. How can people get well unless they recognize and accept their disease and approach a doctor?

What do we mean by mental health? We can define mental health this way: ‘A balanced and undisturbed state of mind, not only during favorable conditions but even during mentally stressful conditions.’ Mental stress could be of two types: acute and chronic or sustained. Seeing the two armies arrayed for war, with relatives on both sides, is an example of acute psychological stress, under whose weight he succumbed and showed signs of neurosis symptoms. Banishment into forest for fourteen years is an example of chronic psychological stress, who could bear it commendably without breaking down.

Now, mental illness and mental health can also have various grades. Positive health would mean not to break down under any type of psychological stress, no matter how intense, whether it comes in the form of temptation, threat, pain, fear, or suffering. Most of us cannot fulfill this condition and cannot claim to have positive mental health. We often break down temporarily under sorrow and stress if it is too severe, but soon recover our mental poise. This is the second grade of mental health.

The third grade would be when a person remains anxious or depressed, and continues to feel inner disturbance, but it does not express in his or her behavior and day-to-day activity. Most people fall into this category. There are those who require regular use of tranquillizers and anti-depressants to keep up their inner and outer poise. And, finally, there are those whose behavior pattern is altered so much that they need to be hospitalized in a mental institution.

We have emotions and sentiments, desires and drives; we have our will as well as the intellect. All these mental faculties of thinking, feeling, and willing must be harmonized together; otherwise we will ‘think’ something and ‘will do’ something else. This is our nature and if we do it overboard, our mental health suffers.

Escape from NetCare

What do you think would happen to you if you went to someone for help and those people forced you to realize your worst fear? Now what if, in doing so, they also cut you off from your spiritual ties? For each person the answer is likely to be at least slightly different. For the person who  is about to tell her story, it has caused her whole life to change.

As you probably already know, I have been dealing with Fibromyalgea, as well as being Bi-Polar. What you may not have known is, I have not been reacting well to the medication, Lyrica. I don’t know if it was the combination of medications, but I can trace with certainty strange thoughts and behaviors to the time period in which I took the Lyrica.

Unfortunately the pain specialist who put me on the Lyrica, didn’t seem to care as much as I did, that the Lyrica was affecting me in ways in which I was not comfortable. His solution: decrease the Lyrica and work up to tripling it at your discretion and I’ll see you in 6 months.

Fortunately I hadn’t yet reached the point where I had the impulse to act on my thoughts, but I did have the impulse to get more help, so I called my general practitioner. I’m sure the doc felt the same way you did when he heard about the “pain specialist”, which is why we decided we would discontinue not only the Lyrica, but the “specialists” involvement in my care.

Unfortunately, I don’t have insurance and was still dealing with unacceptable and uncontrollable thoughts. The doc and I both knew that it would take time for the Lyrica to leave my system and, not feeling safe alone until it did, I made arrangements for my own personal keeper. Life, being what it is, continued to place obstacles in my path, until I broke down to seek the counsel of a therapist.

At this point, all of us, the doc, the therapist, and the people who know and love me best all agree with me that, though I need counseling and even a babysitter, being in an institutionalized setting would be detrimental. Not only do I fear being “locked up”, I have a great need to be able to access fresh air at the very least. Being a highly spiritual person who gets their greatest divine comfort from the natural world, I have the need to be able to be out of doors.

Imagine my therapist’s shock when, instead of a confident forward-thinking woman in need of a little help that he had seen less than a week previously, he met a quivering bundle of fear on our next visit. Whereas, previously, we had agreed that going to NetCare should put me in contact with financially suitable resources to aid me through a medication change, we were both surprised by the reality of what occurred.

I understand that places who receive their funds through the government are not going to be the highest quality. I also understand that there are policies and procedures in place that are there for a reason. I also understand leading someone to believe that they can sign themselves out when that is not at all true, is misleading at the least. I understand they can’t take an inmate’s (though they call them “client”) word for it that being confined in any way is detrimental, when their family confirms this, and their doctors-plural: doctors-also agree with the inmate, one would think that at the very least a phone call might have been made to at least one of the doctors to find out if this is, indeed true.


Especially when, even though other inmates are screaming and yelling, I am trying to talk to one of their counselors through my trembling, so bad the bed is shaking. Obviously I have self-control. Apparently I was not in need of any of my medications, that I had told three different people I needed for anxiety. In fact, I seemed to not even need my medication when, after misleading me into thinking I would be able to leave with my husband, I got little crazy about being held against my will.

What can you do when an institution holds you captive against your will, and against the wishes of your family? What can you do when that same institution, not only refuses to give you your proscribed medications, but also refuses to assist you in getting help for other issues caused by the situations that have put you in? If you have a stress related illness like-Fibromyalgea or Migraines, don’t count on getting any aid if you are institutionalized.

Of course I am generalizing based on one’s experience. One experience that now has me completely unable to interact with other people without experiencing an anxiety attack. One experience that has me in a panic to even think about leaving my house. One experience that makes me afraid to answer the phone. One experience that makes me ill just to get a hug from my best friend.

My therapist was amazed that I made it to my appointment with him. Fortunately I do have a strong will and I know that this is an irrational fear. Oh, wait-it is not irrational: I went to professionals for help and, not only did they force me to encounter a nightmarish reality, they made me worse. That is a fact. I guess I should be thankful that the trauma I experienced at NetCare taught me that I apparently still had subconscious residue left from the difficulties I faced as a youth. Then again, without renewed trauma I might have never known I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I think I would have been OK with that.

If you know me at all, you know I prefer to look at the positive side of situation – at least with my conscious mind. This experience has taught me that I not only have a lot more self-control than I thought, but that I’m not nearly as crazy as I thought I was. (Well, I wasn’t anyway.) I can also be thankful for this experience because It has given me unquestionable direction for my life. Someday I will have a Serenity House where people like me can go to retreat from the world long enough to heal but without having to be locked away from the great creation.

It has also taught me to be grateful for the things that I have: a home in which I can feel safe; a husband who provides emotional security; family, friends and associates who are accepting even if they don’t understand; and the Internet. Yes, I said the Internet. Physical visits make me anxious to the point of nausea. Phone conversations make me shake and teary. Even texting has me trembling. For some reason, and maybe it’s because I have the passionate spirit of a writer, typing this only makes me more determined to reach my goals. To make sure no one else has to be traumatized like this. Maybe it’s because there was no Internet during my youth when the initial trauma took place, but at least I need not be isolated.

And I could. You should know that. My new perfect world has me here at home never needing to interact with anyone but my husband ever again. Not healthy, I know. And there are people on the outside I would worry about even if I never heard anything of them again, because I love them rather they are here or there. So I will force myself to stretch beyond my comfort zone. I’ll use this medium to stay in contact with the outside world, and I will get better again. Eventually.