Living with Mental Illness: An Essay Sample
Person Living with Mental Illness
Mental illness refers to a health condition that affects the way a person thinks, behaves, and also the way such a person feels and relates with other people. Mental illnesses may take various forms, such as depression, personality disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, and bipolar disorder (World Health Organization, 2002). According to a report produced by the World Health Organization (2002), mental illness will be the second leading cause of death and disability in the world by the year 2020. Statistics also show that 45% of the world population will have a mental illness at some point (Mcfarlane, 2010).
Mental illness is one of the ailments associated with the high level of stigma in the society. It is one of the medical conditions that society seems not to fully accept, though research has shown that it is a widespread condition cutting across the entire population regardless of age, gender, and culture. People suffering from this condition often find themselves neglected and isolated by their close family members (Fink, 1992).
Katana, a young man aged 27 years, is one of the people who have had mental illness for the last two years. With the help of his general practitioner, he told me his very emotional story about how he has had mental illness and all the ordeals he has faced over the last seven years. For the past seven years, Katana has suffered from a major depressive disorder, which has wrecked his life to a great extent. During the interview, he told me how he has had to fight daily with low-spirited feelings, poor concentration, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns. He said that this made his spirit very low, leading to him losing the enjoyment of his life. All these negative feelings brought a feeling of hopelessness into his life, making him despair and lose the meaning of his life. Katana even confessed to developing suicidal thoughts several times, which is common for people suffering from major depressive disorder.
This mental illness has had very adverse effects on Katana, and his life has changed due to the effects of the mental problem. The effects of this condition cut across every sphere of his life, and they have been very devastating. His social life has deteriorated due to this problem, and he is almost on the verge of losing his job. He incurs a lot of money on medication, and his performance in his job is very poor due to this problem. His health was also at risk, especially because he could stay for two or three days without eating anything. All he could do was sleep. He did not want any interaction with anyone, and he could lock himself up in his room for hours. Though he gets moral and social support from his family, he has been stigmatized several times due to his condition.
The mental condition of Katana has adversely affected his family relationship to a great extent. He says it was difficult for his family members to understand him when he was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Due to his sudden behavior and lifestyle change, his family mistook him for indulging in drugs and substance abuse. At some point, he was also condemned for laziness due to his problem of oversleeping, especially because there were times he would sleep for more than 12 hours. However, his family had to come to terms with his mental condition over time. His relationship with his family deteriorated, especially because his family had very little knowledge of the problem he was suffering from. The doctor had to explain to his parents the problem he was suffering from, and they were condition. He stopped going out with his friends, and his girlfriend was not ready to move on with him with that kind of lifestyle, though she later understood his condition, and she was very instrumental in assisting him to cope with his situation. This withdrawal from his social groups shocked his parents and friends because he was a very outgoing young man.
Katana is also employed in an insurance firm where she serves as an account assistant. He was one of the best-performing employees in the organization, and he was excelling in his career. Unfortunately, his mental illness affected his career because he could not deliver over time, and his performance deteriorated and reached a point when he could no longer work. He would report to work very late due to oversleeping and would be absent from work as he sought medical attention. His mental condition reduced his output and productivity, reduced accuracy, and increased errors in his work. It also reduced his decision-making ability, which was key in his job. He also became disorganized and had poor planning due to his inability to control his work. Though he was a very motivated and committed employee, he suddenly became disinterested in his job. His relationship with other employees became very wanting as there were constant conflicts. His relationship with the clients also deteriorated, and he could no longer deal with the clients in the desired way.
When Katana’s mental condition deteriorated, he couldn’t continue working. The company he was working for gave him a medical leave so that he could seek medical attention and get time to rest. He has been receiving assistance from the community mental health service team from the Ministry of Social Work. The social worker assessors have visited him at his home twice a week. After visiting a general practitioner for medication, Katana received the relevant services that, after assessing his condition, referred him to the community mental health team (CMHT), which is composed of a group of social workers and a team of health care experts that provides support to individuals with mental health difficulties living within the community. They offer medication, treatment, and counseling services to him. Katana has improved due to the counseling services he receives from the caregivers, and his health is far better than it was a few months ago. His behavior and lifestyle have improved drastically, and his parents and friends are really glad for the services he has been receiving from this team (Department of Health, 2001)
The mental health team has also helped him change his perceptions of life, and now he says that he is ready to move on with life as he has a sense of living again. For the past month, he has been associating with his friends as before, though he has yet to recover fully. The community mental health team normally visits Katana at his home twice weekly, meeting with him one-on-one. They provide him with the necessary support and ensure he gets it. They also ensure he gets the necessities such as drugs, food and clothing. The health workers also share their information with the other community mental health team and the general practitioner so that the recovery process can also be monitored. These services have benefited Katana because he can receive mental health care from home, greatly reducing the time he could have stayed in the psychiatry hospital. It has also helped to reduce the cost of treatment significantly.
The intervention in Katana’s medical condition by the community mental health team has been one of the best teams that has happened to him since he became ill. He says he appreciates the team’s input into his life so far. This is because his condition was really bad, and with their help, he is now on the right path to recovery. Katana’s health had deteriorated to the extent that he had even neglected his physical hygiene, but the counseling program and the treatment have helped him to come to his senses once again. Therefore, There is no doubt that this intervention has been very helpful to his recovery, and he appreciates the support he has received from the team. His parents and friends are also very grateful for the team’s support, which has significantly improved his health.
However, this intervention has some negative aspects associated with it. First and foremost, the home visits, though very effective, appeared to increase the stigma associated with mental illnesses. Every time the mental health team came to his home, it was the talk of the town, and this seemed to heighten the stigma associated with Katana’s ailment. The other problem is that since the health team is composed of several social workers, it has been hard at times for the privacy and confidentiality of the client to be upheld, which is a critical aspect in the medical sector. The ethics that guide the medical profession require that any conversation between the doctor and the patient be treated with a high level of confidentiality, which Katana feels could have been jeopardized due to how his interaction with the social workers was handled.
1. Department of Health (2001). The Mental Health Policy Implementation Guide. London, DH: The University of Lincoln.
2. Fink, P. (1992). Stigma and Mental Illness. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishers.
3. Mcfalarne, S. (2002). The Ripple Effects of Mental Illness. Armidale: Sage Publishers