Self-Awareness: Know Yourself so you can Grow Yourself

Michael ComerReview by Michael Comer
February 29, 2016 – Class at Bipolar Insights / Mental Health Educational Center

This week Marcia wrote on the white board, What _______ is missing? Marcia asked “What is the missing word?” The class began to shout out words … “no, dig deeper” was Marcia’s reply. “I would like to buy a vowel,” someone yelled; the entire class erupted into laughter. We continued to guess and then someone answered, “piece?” The class began diving into “what piece is missing?” What part of your mental health seems to be not working?

The missing piece may be why you may feel mixed emotions or are having a hard time communicating which could be an indication you don’t truly know yourself. To be self-aware is a bold task to undertake, but it is one of the best goals a person could ever set and accomplish for themselves.

Understanding your own mental illness is so you can be your own advocate and tell your psychiatrist or therapist exactly how you feel and think as well as what medications and tools have worked or not worked for you. Most people don’t know you can have more than one mental health issue, such as a combination of BPD (Bipolar Disorder) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,) Bipolar Disorder and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,) or even an anxiety disorder and anorexia. PTSD is a form of dysfunction a person should seek to heal because it is something that has happened to them, resulting in post-traumatic stress. Although it is not chemically induced, it is a feeling one can hold forever.

What are some feelings family members of someone with a mental illness struggle with? Support, understanding, love, pain, knowledge, stability, a connection, boundaries, and acceptance are all qualities that families have a hard time with.

Conversely, the individual with a mental issue also goes through an internal fight by way of confidence, coping skills, habits, realism, awareness, pain, listening, optimism, and validation.

Essentially, the common theme between a family member and the individual is a struggle for expression and understanding.

We as human beings share the same pain, have the same needs and desires. The two major causes of separation between an individual and the family member are a lack of education and acceptance. As soon as both of these remarkable values are incorporated into the relationship, what happens? You stop blaming each other.

People that are uneducated make up rules as they go along, whether they have a mental disorder or not. Acceptance and education are the main keys that can unlock the doors of understanding and begin to open up the world to stability and true balance.

Don’t alienate or argue or dismiss what the individual has to say because only they know how they are feeling and thinking. Go to the mental state that they are in, go to where they are. Get on their level so that you can actually relate to them and understand them instead of fearing them, blaming them, or even shaming them.

Becoming self-aware can inspire you to revitalize your life and find determination to work on things that you know could be better.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.

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