The Mind of Jason


Profiles in Courage

by on May.06, 2011, under Awareness

Note: As a person who has Bi-polar disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, being an emotional masochist, having a number of people close to me throughout the years who have or are facing emotional disorders, portions of this article focus specifically on people who face disorders that include such symptoms as emotional dysregulation. This in no way indicates that only those who face this type of disorder are the only group that this article applies to, it is simply a matter of these are the types of disorders and symptoms I am most familiar with and can speak about from firsthand experience.

When we talk about people who display great amounts of courage we often times overlook two large and related groups. We almost always recognize, and deservedly so, the men and women in uniform, the emergency responders and those that stand fast in their beliefs in the face of overwhelming adversity as courageous.

So, what groups are we overlooking? The first group is the everyday man and woman that face any number of psychological disorders. Unlike the groups listed above the courage, and the challenges these groups face are hidden from those around them.
Every day of their life, these people show courage, just by getting up and facing each new day. These people face not only their own challenges but also the stigmas associated with their disorder, and mental illnesses in general. In addition, that’s if those around them even believe them!

They battle their own minds and feelings, often, which tell them to find ways of releasing their emotions that fall outside of the norms that society has defined. These responses can be scary and dangerous both to themselves and to those around them.
It is easy to fight an opponent that is external to yourself, one that you can see and feel. It is much harder to fight one that is internal, one that you cannot see, one you cannot see coming at you. Not knowing when, where or how this opponent will strike is terrifying. It makes you want to run and hide, but since the opponent is internal, there is no place to hide to get away from it. You can only stand and face it; that takes courage. What is worse, all too often, they face these challenges alone. They fight, claw and suffer alone.

That brings us to the other group that is often overlooked, those that stand by the people fighting this internal battle. It can be hard not to run away, stand with, and support a person facing these challenges. The way they deal with their feelings, the way they find to cope, to express these feelings can be terrifying to see especially, if there is nothing you can do, or feel there is nothing you can do. It takes a strong, courageous and compassionate person not to abandon them. It is easier to run away, to decide not to deal with the reactions than it is to stay. It takes true courage.

Unfortunately, these groups are so often overlooked, stigmatized and neglected. But, it is not hopeless, there are groups out there that work to remove those stigmas, that fight for those who suffer from these and many other types of psychological disorders, that provide peer supporter programs, family programs to help those that support them cope and support their friends and loved ones better.

Here in the U.S., I know of three off the top of my head, and they are just a very small sampling of the groups out there.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD)

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

As I said, these are just three of many groups out there; I know these three personally because I have been involved with them on some small level in the past and hope to get more involved in the years to come.

Not only are there organizations like these out there, but if you do a web search, you can find hundreds of blogs of people who are sharing their stories, doing their part to help themselves and others who face the same challenges have meaningful, productive and happy lives.

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