ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Point of No Return

Jack Bragen
Saturday September 15, 2018 - 01:55:00 PM

When someone loses good health, it can be very tough to regain. This is true of both mental and physical health. In some instances, people lose their mental and/or physical health to the point where it isn't coming back. A lot of this has to do with age. When young, it is far more likely that you can bounce back from a health problem.

A doctor advised a relative to "stop and smell the roses." The advice was premature. That relative has gained a lot of ground after switching to another healthcare system.

If you are under 60, and if you have chronic health problems, it isn't necessarily too late, especially if you are able to sustain significant changes to how you take care of yourself. This conclusion is derived from what I have seen. 

If you maintain health in your thirties, forties and fifties, you might have a shot at making it to ninety. However, some people get cancer, or some other significant health problem, unrelated to maintenance of their body. No one should play the blame game in regards to health. Doing so is counterproductive, inaccurate--and it can be hurtful. 

Concerning mental health, a chronically mentally ill individual needs to be serious about treating their brain condition. Otherwise, they are playing "Russian-Roulette" with their faculties. 

Unfortunately, a number of psychiatric medications have serious side effects that can ruin physical health. So then, we might sacrifice a level of physical health in order to function mentally, in a tradeoff. 

However, you can do some things to fend off the physical health problems that meds often bring about. For example, a number of psychiatric medications cause weight gain and diabetes. Yet, we can sometimes compensate for this by having permanent restrictions in diet. 

Some of the habits that can shorten your life and ruin your state of wellness include the following: overeating, smoking, being sedentary, doing street drugs, and drinking alcohol. Also, the failure to take care of one's teeth has bad effects on the rest of the body.  

Having a diet in which you eat a moderate amount, no starvation or fad diets, and no binging on fast food, will have good effects on long-term health. I was becoming diabetic. I reversed this by making permanent, sustainable changes in my diet. Other people have reversed their type 2 Diabetes as well. 

As a generalization, you can not sustain a diet of starving yourself to lose weight--that just doesn't work. It may cause fast weight loss, but you will end up gaining it all back, and more. Especially if you are mentally ill, you need to eat. On the other hand, you do not need to eat a ton of candy, ice cream, cake, pizza, and hamburgers. 

If you fail to adopt some of the good habits I have described, you could, when a little older, reach a point of poor health from which you can not come back. At that point, your health is in "defensive mode" and you begin to rely on a lot of medical treatment and procedures. 

If your arteries clog, this could be irreversible without medical procedures. If you lose sensation in your feet due to diabetes, you probably can't reverse that. If your lungs are shot due to too much smoking, you may reach a point where you need to be on oxygen for the remainder of your life. 

Concerning mental health, if you get a lot of brain damage from going on and off medication, you might never be able to get your faculties back. If you do not have your mental health, you have nothing. 

If your mind doesn't work, you lose your chances of having a decent life. If your body needs constant intervention of doctors, your life is nothing other than going to increasing numbers of medical appointments. If you reach a point of it being impossible to bounce back, you could regret decisions made when younger. 

The above are just common sense things that most people know. Yet, I see too many people in the mental health treatment system live only into their forties or fifties. In addition, the mental health treatment system doesn't do anything to address this. This is because it is their job to manage us rather than truly help us. We represent and inconvenience and/or nuisance to society. Therefore, no incentive exists on the part of treatment providers to help us have longevity, or to help us get anything that is good in life. If you want to be physically and mentally healthy so that you can enjoy life and live longer, the ball is in your court.