Wednesday, June 29 2022

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly 44 million adults experience an episode of mental illness each year. Of these, the experience of 10 million adults in the United States with mental illness was severe enough to significantly interfere with an important life activity.

According to a 2015 University of California study, a significantly higher percentage of entrepreneurs surveyed showed signs of mental illness than the general population.

Only 41% of adults who needed them have sought mental health services in the past year. What is preventing us from getting the help we so desperately need?

…To read part 1 of this series…

Despite being a widespread problem in America, mental illness in all its forms is still marked by stigma and shame. This misperception of a shameless disorder is partly responsible for people not getting the help they need.

“It’s a lot harder to think of an anxiety disorder or OCD that helps a person excel in business,” Claudia Kalb, author of Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities, told Harvard BusinessJournal.

“Stigma comes from not understanding what mental illness is about and recognizing that we all share at least some of these traits,” Kalb said. “One reason to learn more about these conditions is not to label people, but to better understand where people come from — and why some of these attributes can be positive in a business setting.”

While it’s very tempting to fear the stigma of a diagnosis, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone and that we all experience similar issues from time to time.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Americans hoped that access to personal health insurance would be both easier to obtain and less expensive. The US Small Business Administration reported in 2014 that over 75% of businesses are known as “non-employer” businesses. These firms create a single job—usually the business owner—and have no one else on the payroll.

Because of changes in insurance laws, many of these individuals have had to give up health care options they had with previous insurers and face higher rates on the new health exchanges for less comprehensive insurance plans.

Premiums for some policyholders have risen nearly 10% over the past two years, and depending on the state they live in and income goals, many people expect insurance prices to rise sharply this year, with estimates ranging from 16% to 65% . increases.

As editor of the Washington Post, Newsweek and owner of several television and radio stations, Phil Graham was a man of money and power. Yet despite his wealth and privileges, he was not immune to insanity. His journey with a serious mental illness began in 1957 and continued for years thereafter.

Decades later, Katherine Graham has never forgotten her husband’s tears. “He was in real tears and despair,” she told the Baltimore Sun, “he was … powerless, unable to move.”

In a time when the stigma ran deep and treatment options were severely limited, help was scarce and Phil’s rapid descent into the disease involved hospitalizations and invasive electroshock therapies, all to no avail. All the while, Katherine carried out the doctor’s orders and tried to talk Phil out of bipolar episodes by talking for hours to try to boost his spirits.

We know that we ask our loved ones to carry great burdens for us entrepreneurs and try to lighten their burdens. However, by not seeking help so as not to disturb them, we are not helping them.

A study by Rogers, Stafford, and Garland of Baylor University found that high levels of subjective and objective distress were reported for family members of people with mental illness, with many family members having difficulty processing their own feelings about the mental illness and theirs dearest.

We do not lighten the path of our loved ones by refusing to seek and get the help we need, but instead condemn them with a heavier burden, despite our well-meaning intentions.

In her powerful work The Dangers of Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan discusses the all-too-familiar concept of people not wanting to allow themselves to think about things that end in conflict or that rock the boat personally or professionally.

“We cannot perceive everything and know: the cognitive limits of our brain simply do not allow us. This means that we have to filter or edit what we record. So it’s crucial what we let in and what we leave out,” writes Heffernan. “We mostly admit the information that makes us feel good about ourselves while conveniently filtering out anything that unsettles our fragile egos and core beliefs.”

For many of us, it’s not that we don’t want to admit that we need help, it’s that we just can’t allow ourselves to see it—even in the best of times! When you have trouble seeing life clearly through the lens of mental illness, it’s even harder.

Being open with yourself about things that are real and things that aren’t, and acknowledging that things may be wrong is the first step to finding help.

You don’t have to seek help alone. Asking someone for help can often be uncomfortable, especially on an issue as personal as your own health, but it is the critical step in recovery. Find a trusted recovery partner who you trust to help you find someone who can provide the level of support you need.

While your healthcare provider is the best first point of contact for discussing things that are going on with you physically or emotionally, it’s important to have a support network that can be there for you between doctor visits.

There are other, more immediate resources for those who need them:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, either by calling 1-800-273-8255 or by walking to them website and participating in an online chat.

For those who prefer SMS options with qualified Crisis Counselors, the Crisis Text Line is available 24/7 via SMS “Go” to 741741. Both options are confidential and provide immediate support to you and your family.

After you begin treatment or counseling, stay connected and educate yourself about the challenges you face. You share control of your path to recovery with your doctor or counselor; Get as much information as you can from reputable sources about the specific challenges you face and stay involved in making informed treatment decisions about your care.

You are the most important thing in the world to your family, not your business, not your supposed ideas of success – you. If you don’t take anything else from this article, you know that. You are not alone, and professional help is available.

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