My first manic episode wreaked havoc on my family. No one was educated on mental health and no one knew what was happening. Everyone was scared, not knowing how to properly manage a nineteen-year-old who appeared like she was under the influence of some type of illegal substance for a consecutive amount of days. It was a very difficult time, to say the least.
If my family had been open, if we had discussed mental health as easily as we discuss the weather, then maybe I would have had a better understanding of the changes that were occurring within me. If there was an awareness of the fact that I might inherit this genetic component from my grandfather, then maybe I would have been able to educate myself prior to it unleashing its chaos onto me. I was in the dark and I had no clue that there was even a trace of mental health disorders in my family.
From time to time, I wonder about how different circumstances would have played out if I had known that bipolar disorder was a thing within my immediate family. And I only mention that now as I urge others to discuss their family’s background with one another, no matter what type of disease, whether it be of physical ailments or mental illnesses. Your health, your well-being, can be affected by your family’s history. It is vitally important, to be honest with one another and to have open communication, especially about any past history of mental health illnesses.
That conversation may not be the easiest to swallow, but discussing it with one another may lead you to further educate yourself about specific disorders.
Education is power. Knowledge is power. Awareness is power.
Within MH3’s interview with Sally Newson, she discusses how difficult of a time it was for her teenage daughter prior to being professionally diagnosed. There were lows of suicidal ideations, which were openly addressed in a dialogue between mother and daughter. That conversation was a key point in Sally’s life where she knew she had to find help for her daughter and began the process of seeking treatment from professionals within the mental health field.
We can all learn from Sally’s personal story in that being an openly receptive listener can truly change the outcome of someone’s life. Being educated about mental health illnesses also holds a weight of importance. This is why Sally created the parent online resource, wellifyteen.org, as a means for those parents with a teenager who might be experiencing early warning signs of mental health illnesses to be able to get properly educated and to have their teen screened early on.
Sally is an inspiration to us all at MH3, for she was not only willing and open to having that tough conversation with her daughter, who was suicidal at the time, but she continued to push forward in all efforts to help her daughter find inner peace. If you have not watched the full interview yet, you can find it by visiting https://www.mh3.co/featuredvideo.