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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Mental Illnesses We're Still Not Talking About

Over the past few years, open and honest conversation about mental health has become more and more common place. I've seen multiple people share their experiences online and love that it's starting to become a part of daily dialogue. People's understanding of anxiety and depression has certainly improved dramatically, although there's definitely still room for improvement.

Mental Health Awareness Week was last month, and the theme this year was stress, a worthy and important topic. But poor mental health isn't just stress. Despite what we see in mainstream media, mental illnesses don't start and finish with anxiety and depression. Whilst the world is slowly becoming more acclimatised to these forms of illness, other types are still highly stigmatised. Many of these disorders are more common than you might expect and can present themselves in a variety of different forms that could surprise you.

1 // Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is characterised by significant mood swings between manic highs and depressive lows. It takes on average 10.5 years to receive a correct diagnosis in the UK, meaning people struggle to make improvements to their lives. Bipolar also increases the risk of suicide by 20 times and the World Health Organisation identifies it as one of the top causes of lost years of life in 15-44 year olds. When something is so incredibly life-threatening, why don't the general public know more about it? And why does it take so long to get a correct diagnosis?

2 // Schizophrenia

Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia does not mean that the individual has a split personality. In fact, it's a surprisingly common illness that affects the way the person thinks. There are a number of different types of schizophrenia, including paranoid schizophrenia, hebephrenic schizophrenia and catatonic schizophrenia. Sadly there's a myth that those with schizophrenia are dangerous to society. This is very rarely the case. In fact, people with the illness are more likely to be a danger to themselves than to anyone else. Sufferers have an average life expectancy that is 10-15 years shorter than those without the condition.

3 // Psychosis 

Psychosis causes people to interpret things differently from those around them. This often includes hallucinations, where a person hears or sees things that aren't there, such as voices. Another common symptom is delusions, where the individual has strong beliefs that aren't shared by others, such as thinking a conspiracy exists to harm them. This can understandably result in severe stress and changes in behaviour.

4 // Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is an anxiety-related condition where a person experiences obsessional thoughts that are often accompanied by compulsions or impulses. There are a number of different types of obsessive compulsive disorder. Contrary to common perceptions, the illness does not simply manifest itself in cleanliness, organisation or hand-washing. For example, repetitive intrusive thoughts could be that of harming a loved one. This causes the sufferer severe distress as they find the idea that they have even had the thoughts in the first place completely horrifying.

5 // Body Dysmorphic Disorder

When people think of mental illnesses linked to body image, anorexia or bulimia often spring to mind. However, body dsymorphic disorder often goes unnoticed, despite it being relatively common. Symptoms include obsessive worries about flaws in the individual's physical appearance, often ones which are unnoticeable to others. Sufferers also tend to develop compulsive behaviours, such as picking at skin or excessive use of mirrors or avoiding them altogether. Often those with the disorder can be accused of being vain or self-obsessed, when really they are struggling with a difficult and devastating mental health problem.

This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mental illness. Often those suffering are scared to share their stories as their illnesses are so completely misunderstood that they face extreme judgment. This absolutely breaks my heart and I hope to see it change for the better in the coming years.

If you'd like to find out more about the many mental illnesses that effect millions of people every day and ways you can help, I'd highly recommend checking out the following websites:




  1. This is such a great post. It is so important to talk about these things openly and honestly!

    Danielle xx

  2. Love this post! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Girl such an important post! Thank you!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com


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