An untreated mental illness can be difficult for not only the person who is suffering from the illness but also for the people who come into contact with the person, most commonly the people closest to the person. On the rare occasion a mental illness that a person is suffering from gets so far out of hand that it can become catastrophic. That is why it is so very important to seek treatment if you think you may be suffering from a mental illness or encourage someone to seek treatment if you think they may have a mental illness.
Someone who has an undiagnosed mental illness is usually feeling trapped inside their own mind. It can be like a prison to them and they cant find their way out. They need someone to show them the way. You feel confused, hurt, sad, angry and resentful or you have fanciful ideations. You think you are king of the world and can leap tall buildings with a single bound and are willing to prove it, you think you are bulletproof. These are very dangerous things…. There are other things that could be happening too… You could be seeing things that seem all too real to you but in fact are not real at all or hearing things/people/voices that are taking up a part of your mind that shouldn’t be there. There are many different traits to many different illness each with their own terrifying stories. The end result is the suffering they cause. But there is help available.
Long before I was diagnosed with a mental illness I suffered with symptoms. I knew I had problems but I didn’t know what to do about it. As early as 15 years old I started showing signs of depression. My parents always demanded to know what was wrong with me. Why did I “hide out” in my room all the time? Why was I never “happy” unless I was with my friends? I stopped eating by the time I turned 16 and it got so bad my parents would show up at my job and beg me to eat…. They would buy me anything I wanted if I would “just eat it”. I left home 3 months before I turned 17 years old and about 3 months after I turned 17 I overdosed. I spent the next several years in and out of relationships until I met my abusive husband at the age of 21. That was 5 ½ years of alcohol & depression, until I had my first child and left him. Then in a state of mania a year later I married my second husband after only knowing him for 9 days. Mind you, all of this is before I was diagnosed with a mental illness. I can only look back now and see the ups and downs and call them what they were. My second husband was in the military and was stationed half way across the country from where I grew up and away from all my family. So I left home. Now I had moved away from home before but never this far. The impact it had on my life was devastating. I went from mania to crazed anxiety within a month. It didn’t help that he was gone a lot on training missions. When he was home we began to argue all the time. He had a temper and I was having massive mood swings…. I kept telling him I didn’t feel right, that something was wrong with me I just didn’t understand what was going on. I begged him to take me to the doctor but he said the military Doctors wouldn’t know what to do. One night we got into an argument and he told me to leave. He told me he was putting me on a bus home. This hurt me more than anything. When I told him I wouldn’t go, he said he was leaving me. As he walked to the front door I attacked him. I started throwing things at him. This was totally out of character for me…. But I was standing beside a shelf full of what-knots and I just started throwing them at him. I emptied the whole shelf, I ended up breaking all my collectables and putting a dent in the door before he finally got his arms around me and pinned me down. I just started crying and he held me until I stopped shaking. Never raising his voice, just assuring me it was going to be alright. The next morning he took me to the doctors. They said it was anxiety. The military doctors never did get it right. We still argued and eventually I moved home to have my second child. He got out of the military and came home to be with me. Unfortunately we couldn’t save our marriage. After I left him, I began to spiral out of control and finally decided to seek help again. This time I found a good psychiatrist and 6 months after I ended my marriage I was diagnosed bipolar. I finally had the answers to so many questions. I felt like I could start rebuilding my life again. It has been a struggle but since I have been in treatment I have gradually found my way back to the surface and have kept my head above water.
I hurt a lot of people while I was going thru my life with an untreated mental illness. I ruined many relationships and broke many friendships. Some of those friendships I have been able to rebuild. But so many lives have been scarred. Sometimes we inflict damage that cant be undone even when we don’t mean to. It took many years for my husband and I to be able to even carry on a conversation without yelling at each other. Sometimes time does heal wounds…. Sometimes time isn’t even enough. Our country is sometimes touched with senseless violence at the hands of someone with a mental illness that has for one reason or another gone untreated or slipped thru the cracks. It is so important to spread the message, get mental illness awareness out there to everyone. Educate those who need to be educated to recognize the early signs so that they can get the help to those who need it. We need to end the stigma, stop being afraid of the unknown and spread the word.