As a child I saw many advertisements on television for medications to treat mental health conditions such as depression and other ailments. At the time I couldn’t understood why there would be medicine for people who were, what I thought just sad. I would say to myself or to my parents, that if you were sad you should just get over it. I thought the entire science of psychology was a joke and most likely of the devil. When I was 18 though, my whole opinion changed. Now I believe in the reality of mental illnesses and struggles.
It all started when I began taking psychology as a senior in high school. At first I scoffed at things like Sigmund Freud, but was learning. I was still skeptical, but I certainly had a more informed opinion than I had as a little child. Towards the end of the school year thoughts began to enter my head which I couldn’t explain. I worried about things that I never worried before about, and things that nobody else seemed to worry about. These thoughts were very disturbing in nature and slowly seemed to consume my every thought process. I began to have strange twitches of the eyes. They asked me if I was ill, needed new glasses, or had turrets because I couldn’t keep my eyes focused on anyone as they spoke. At the time I didn’t worry too much, until I left for my LDS mission. The thoughts and symptoms that I had experienced previous to leaving home intensified, causing even more stress than that of just leaving home. By October, 2 months after I had began my mission, I was convinced I was either going insane, going to commit a serious crime or sin, or was being possessed of the devil, so great was the mental anguish I was going through. Not only could I not concentrate on anyone, I thought I was going to lash out and do something horrible, because my brain constantly bombarded me with those messages. Knowing I couldn’t live 2 years like this, I got help. I went to an ecclesiastical leader, certain I was going to go home for some grievous sin. To my surprise I was sent to another office, that of a psychologist who diagnosed me with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He reassured me that I wasn’t going to go do something horrible and that I wasn’t possessed of Satan. I learned and was trained to ignore these thoughts, and slowly my life improved. It still was very hard, but I was so grateful that someone had studied these things so people so afflicted wouldn’t be doomed to think something of themselves that just wasn’t true. From this my opinion has greatly changed, about mental illness and the effect that it can have on the lives of other people because of the effects it has had on mine.
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