Monday, April 02, 2007

Loneliness and isolation


A large part of mental illness is battling loneliness and isolation. The residual stigma involved with the illness has resulted in most people in society innocently identifying more with what makes someone with a psychiatric illness different, rather than being able to see what they might have in common.

Mental illness is a very unique and terrible disease. It requires those who suffer from it to admit that they are going to need a lot of help—to admit that they are going to have to rely on others. This disease requires a team of family, therapists, doctors, and friends. At Caramore, everyone is in the same situation.

Battling stigma can be as simple as ending the secrecy of the illness and saying to others “hey look, my friend here has some problems, and we need your compassion and help.” Most people, when asked directly like this, rise to the occasion. People want to help.

The community aspect of Caramore asks our clients to not only be dedicated to their own improvement, but to serve all the others in the group. We realize that our success is interconnected here; and we have to find a way to get there together. We don’t want to fix defects—we want to find unique talents and celebrate them and use them to help others with the illness.

Individuals with mental illness are people who are lonely, want relationships, and want some success in life. They want to feel needed and appreciated and loved. Success in battling this illness demands directly getting others involved, both for themselves and for others.

D. Cooley

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