One of the reasons that it is so easy for some people to dismiss or minimize mental illness is that much of the accompanying suffering occurs without causing physical signs or symptoms.
It’s so easy for skeptics and cynics’ to say, “If I can’t see it, it must not be real. It’s all in your head.”
As a person with mental illness (Bipolar Disorder), I couldn’t agree with the second statement more. It IS all in my head because my brain is the organ with the malady. And, yes, my brain is located inside my head.
Interestingly, unlike the simple liver, heart or pancreas that can “truly” make a person sick, the brain is a complex organ. A vast array of things can go awry and cause people to suffer one of many illnesses that can range across a broad spectrum of severity. Yet some people remain in denial!
The graphic below shows the areas of the brain from which various disorders stem. For me, this visual illustration is another nail in the coffin of chalking mental illness up to malingering, moral defects, incompetence, or weakness.
I have been struggling with an SMI for 51 years. The 26 years prior to getting on a path to Recovery, and the times that I veered from the path of Recovery since, damn near killed me. And it takes significant daily effort to stay in Recovery.
My Bipolar Disorder is real. And I can assure you that I am not malingering, morally defective, incompetent, or weak. And neither are my fellow sufferers.