Descartes once said that the only thing which we have power over is our own thoughts.
According to him, because of this power, we can be architects of our destinies. This may be true to the majority but for people with mental illness this is the exact opposite of reality. With mental illness, instead of controlling our own thoughts, we imprison thoughts and emotions.Mental illness has often been misunderstood, arising to bias against those with the disease.
Following this, society has also somehow neglected sufferers and has rather chosen apathy and fear. I know this first hand since I was a child. My parents taunted me as a daydreamer. My teachers thought I was dumb, an airhead.
When in fact, a few months later, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). From the years of scorn, my condition finally had a name, and I felt thankful and confident for once. Only then did I get the medication I needed to recover. In later years, I would be diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), for which I was also given medication.
Unlike ADHD, my OCD was visible to others. I began to watch how people reacted to me and the manifestations of my disease. Here, I realized the bias that lacked understanding, and how this stigma adds to the sufferer’s burden.Surprisingly, through my personal struggle, I was still able to excel in my academics.
I was consistently on the Dean’s List, and held memberships in honor societies. It was ironic that it was because of the social stigma that I suffered which allowed me so much time to study.On top of this, I qualified into the teams of two research projects. I am now a Research Assistant on a project that seeks to explore identity development in young adults.
The study will focus on how gender, race and class identity affects mental health and academic performance. Likewise, I am also doing research work for a professor, wherein we study the influences of internal maturational factors and socio-cultural experiences to cognitive learning.At this time, my mental illness has ceased to be a matter of shame and is now steering my ambitions to learn more. The more I read and understand the studies that have been made about mental illness, the more I intuit about my personal struggles with the disease.
I can often draw from my personal experiences to get the bigger picture, whenever I encounter similar cases. In a way, my struggles have given me the extra pieces that can help solve the puzzles of psychology.My ultimate goal is to be able to focus on early diagnoses and preventive therapy. I believe that as we expand studies in behavioral sciences, we can decrease psychological problems dramatically.