So…What is mental illness?

What is mental illness? What’s the first thing that pops into your head when someone asks you define what mental illness is? I guarantee you, everyone has a different response to that question. I define mental illness as a disorder that affects a person’s mood and behavior as well their physical body, too. For example, I was working at my old Starbucks store, when I encountered a patron who seemed to be completely disheveled, was cursing for no reason, and other patrons thought this person was completely nuts. Well, it turned out that this young man had some sort of bipolar disorder. He would be fine one minute and the next minute: his behavior was purely irrational and became maniacal at one point. I found it both scary and heartbreaking at the same time. The stigma that our society has on people with mental illnesses is not good. The main reason is that most people just don’t understand what mental illness and how it affects people who suffer from it. I always say, you don’t know what it’s like to suffer from this until it happens to you!

Mental illness is defined by many professionals as changes or alterations in mood and/or behavior that can cause impaired functioning in the brain. Mental illness includes depression, anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, and etc. For people who suffer from depression like me, it’s a change in my mood and causes persistent periods or episodes of depression. Typically, people who suffer from depression may or may not have anxiety and panic disorder or any other disorder associated with it. I’ve been diagnosed as having major depression with anxiety and panic disorder, or as I like to call it, the Triple Threat Disease!

Before we divulge further in the blog, I invite you to take a quick quiz on depression and anxiety and see if you, too, experience what I go through on a daily basis.


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