Monday, May 6, 2013

Mental Illness shouldn't be a Back Burner Issue.

I have always been an a supporter of Mental Health and an advocate of the Mentally Ill. I was fortunate to have a Mother that worked with those who's Mental health effected them daily. If you don't have your mind, where does it leave you? Just a Shell of someone. With it being Mental Health Awareness Month, I could not help to tie it in to Military Appreciation Month. Why? PTSD. Its one of the biggest ones. Not to mention the depression and the anxiety that family members go through during deployments.

Deployments are stressful enough on both the service member and family. The service member's mental capability is put to the test on such a vigorous scale its a wonder they can function at full speed. Think about it. They have the stress of doing their jobs, finishing a mission without incident or finishing a mission with incident. Then trying to wrap the mind around the most horrible things a person can see, witness or sadly be involved with. They have the worry of whether or not their family back home is doing ok. Then when they get back home, what is available to them as support? It has gotten a lot better the past couple of years, but its not perfect. Trying to switch your brain from the fast paced thinking they are trained to do, back to the slow, laid back way of thinking of the everyday life. I can see how that would be hard for someone to do. Military Spouses, Husbands and Wives are the first line of support for our returning men and women. We know our spouses better than anyone. So we would know if something was not quite right with them.The military has gotten a lot better over the years about recognizing  PTSD as something that can be debilitating. There are more screenings done. More Service members are getting help with the triggers and managing them.Its sad,  that its taken this long to figure out the going to War, does a number on the human psyche. An even more sadder note, the majority of our homeless are Veterans that suffer from one from of PTSD and other mental illness associated with their time in the service. That says something doesn't it?

Mental Illness doesn't just stop with the service members, We the spouses have our own mind to think about. It isn't easy to say goodbye those we love. We worry about them. We have anxieties of our own. Yes we get nervous when the phone rings or if we see a recognizable group of Military members come to our door. We also have the stress of solely running a household and being both parents. Let's not forget if you are a family with special needs. It adds on it. We get depressed. Deployments are often long and communication is lacking at times.We also have our triggers. 

Mental Illness is one of those things that no one wants to admit they need help in. But its one of the most important things to be seen about. I personally have dwelt with it. I will fully admit that I am depressed and that I have anxiety. If I admit that I have to take medication in order to feel better, I am one more person that has taken the step to making sure my mental health is taken care of. Mental Illness is invisible. You can't see it. But it needs to be recognized. People need to know that just because someone looks healthly on the outside, they may be hurting on the inside. People also need to get over this stigma that having a Mental Illness is a sign of weakness. Its not. Acknowledging you have a problem and getting help for it is the biggest sign of courage and strength.

Making people aware that its ok to admit they need help or that they need to be screened for a Mental Illness is the key. Its a hard and long road, but if you have people in your lives that support you and love you, the road traveled will be an easier one.

With that, Imma Navyspouse and I have depression and Anxiety. I hope that helps someone out there that needs it.