Why Awareness is the first step towards recovering from Mental Illness?



    I am not a trained professional in Psychology or Mental health. My intention to share my story is merely to raise awareness among people and the stigma attached to it. Please consult a professional if you go through depression, anxiety, or any mental illness.

      From my case you can safely assume how effortlessly my genetic OCD went unnoticed ,which was running in the family for so long. Because of its different patterns in variety of obsessions & compulsions with different trigger times in ones life. Also summing up some personal habits , external environmental influences , which add up to the pre- existing chaos of these random & dissimilar symptoms of this illness that would never let you come to a clear conclusion that it could be something to do with OCD.
      Thereupon Awareness plays a significant role when it comes to OCD specially, due to the complexity of this illness. That certainly doesn’t mean you should not be aware of other mental illnesses. Awareness & acceptance are the first step towards healing yourself & removing the stigma attached around any mental illness. It’s  always good to be educated & self informed about the variety of mental illnesses that humans can have. Instead of going through a guilt trip of torturing yourself for so many years. It helps you understand the difference between set of normal & abnormal behavioral symptoms that comes with every illness & thereby a swift diagnosis & early recovery you may expect.
     In the context of the same , it comes as a no surprise that a lot of people who feel they are mentally strong enough don’t feel a necessity to be aware of wide range of mental illness that people go through. They think mental illness happens to only those who are emotionally weak ,vulnerable or genetically pre – disposed of.
      Yes, that’s true that the majority of the cases of mental illness have roots in genetics. I am a living example of it
But this doesn’t mean, only these people will get into its trap. Anyone can get into the trap of mental illness. It never sends an invitation. It surprises you like an uninvited intruder when you least expect.
    There are a variety of reasons why OCD goes unnoticed even after  being in the same genetics, seeing that each generation, has different symptoms unrelated to the ones in the previous generation. Also, considering the complexity of this disorder which keeps changing its faces, to accommodate the environmental factors in the sufferer’s life. Apart from these a lot of societal issues like the beliefs, differences in opinion, upbringing, neutral family trends these days, don’t create a healthy & comfortable platform for the newer generations to even share it with their extended family members. It depends on the bonding & closeness they share. And of course the underlying stigma of being embarrassed to share it with anyone, as they think only they are the ones suffering from it.
    I will give you a real example of me and my sister,how our trigger times with the OCD types differed in every stage of life. I had earlier mentioned in my ‘ genetic OCD ‘ story where my sister during her college days had a habit to store her personal utensils in the cupboard. This compulsion was a coping mechanism for her contamination OCD. While at that time I had fragments of intrusive blasphemous thoughts whenever I used to sit for prayers, of which I was totally unaware what to make out of it or why they passed through my mind making me feel guilty often.
      Now in the present time, her patterns have switched to hoarding of clothes. Mine after being hit by depression twice , triggered by intrusive feelings. My symptoms are switched to checking & contamination OCD , which I never had before.
      Wait a minute, this absolutely doesn’t means that those torturing thoughts have gone forever from my head. They are just in sleeping mode. It just needs a trigger switch, which unknowingly this time I switched it on to spread the awareness of mental illness. While I was researching & busy unleashing this devilish monster ,I have often felt flashes of them popping out from its pores to make me feel their terrifying existence within & threatening me to come back to torture me. And that has been a really difficult part of this writing journey of my experience. I would however like to enhance on the topics related to OCD and mental health further but the vulnerability of my brains , specially in todays   stressful times is simply making me feel easily depressed. So soon will be taking a break from this niche till I finish my next set of 2 to 3 blogs on mental health.
      There is one more thing I have discovered from my understanding of these forms of OCD connecting them to my experience. I think intrusive thoughts or P OCD , has a power to make you feel depressed & fall into the vicious cycle of depression very easily. Where as other types or forms of OCD like the contamination , checking & hoarding etc trigger anxiety or panic attacks at the most ,which I am going through right now already on meds with it.
         To my mind other types of OCD feel much more bearable as compared to P’OCD or intrusive thoughts , because of the abnormality it involves like  feeling of loosing control or thoughts of  hurting your loved ones. Maybe my understanding as a sufferer must be wrong , but that is what I have understood so far from, living with this whiny sticky creature
     Half years of my suffering I have spent in guilt & embarrassment because I was not aware that it was not me but this sticky virus inside my head acting through me. Making me feel disgusted through all layers of my existence, until one day I discover my true self.
      I do not want others to suffer as I did, especially the young generation, at the peak of their career, when they have endless capabilities, but this invisible monster trying to boil down it too humiliating their self – esteem & breaking them down to a piece of flesh & slave of their mind.
      So you can imagine how this blood sucking colourful predator is waiting to splash its distinct colourful patterns at different stages or generations to come in ones life. And that is why identifying this predator is the first step to fight a mind war against it. To identify it, its extremely crucial that we as socially responsible beings , built awareness & self- educate ourselves to a basic level about variety of mental illness humans go through , so that we are able to detect the symptoms at the earliest in the lives of our loved ones, relatives or you never know you yourself.


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