Mental illnesses are often portrayed in the media. Movies of a lover with a split personality, stories of someone with ADHD, songs for people who experience mania are all examples of mental illnesses being represented in media. However, sometimes some of these conditions tend to be misrepresented in media. People with mental illnesses are often viewed as people who can go crazy all of a sudden, do impulsive dangerous things that often harm other people.
Though this perspective may be true for some, it only represents a smaller minority of the group. In fact, because of bad representation in media, people often become too scared to deal with people who have mental illnesses. So before jumping right away to conclusions of what these mental illnesses are and assuming “facts” about people with this condition, it is better to inform ourselves better of the truth behind these mental illnesses.
ADHD refers to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition that often affects the ability to retain attention, sit still, and control. Most of the time, this is diagnosed when children are young but can be brought all the way to adulthood. Having ADHD dramatically affects their relationships at school, work, and home.
Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive people are often immediately labeled as “ADHD.” However, not everyone who is hyperactive or possesses these qualities are automatically ADHD. ADHD is a condition that often needs to be diagnosed by a licensed physician. The common misconception with this condition is that the manifestations of ADHD can be controlled; people just choose not to. However, this is not true – tapping their feet, clicking their pens, moving around are not always things people with ADHD can control.
It is also wrong to assume that all people with ADHD are hyperactive. Some have an inattentive type of ADHD where the main problem is focusing and paying attention to conversations. Another thing to note is that many people with ADHD can still have successful relationships, including romantic ones.
People with ADHD are often dubbed as lazy because they seem unmotivated to work. Some people even say that they just use their ADHD as an excuse to do lesser work. However, it is often not the case for many; it’s just that it is harder to get their work done since they often get distracted by other people, lights, and sounds, especially in a busy or buzzing office.
Proper medication plays a vital role in managing ADHD since it can help improve attention. However, medications alone are not enough – it does not entirely eliminate all the symptoms and side effects. Adults with ADHD often need help from others, especially in being organized. They still need help in crucial moments in their lives and a guide who can help them make life choices.
2. Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is an illness that can dramatically change mood and behavior. A person with bipolar disorder often has periods of elevated moods followed by depression. In a book by Lori-Ellen Pisani, she illustrates what it is like to live with Bipolar Disorder. The struggles that many people with Bipolar Disorder have are unique, but may sometimes share similarities.
When talking about mania, it is wrong to assume that mania is only ever all the crazy – sometimes positive but sudden changes of behavior are signs of mania. The sudden burst in productivity, the extreme happiness, being so full of new ideas, boost in creativity, and the likes are examples of changes in behavior that may indicate a manic episode in a person with Bipolar Disorder.
However, though these may seem positive, remember that bipolar disorder is similar to having a random tipping point. A person may be very happy at one point but will suddenly drown in depression the next. Because of this, both positive and negative behaviors related to manic episodes should be observed when caring for someone with Bipolar Disorder.
Depression and anxiety are also often linked to bipolar disorders, but not always in the same way. You cannot have both depression and bipolar disorder since depression and anxiety are often unipolar, meaning it is all a series of “down” periods. In contrast, bipolar disorder has both “up” and “down” periods. However, it is correct that people with bipolar disorder can include depressive episodes and experience anxiety and panic attacks.
3. Split personality
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), commonly called Split personality disorder, is often seen in mass media. Movies about murderers and villains with split personality disorder act angelic in some scenarios, then become psychotic murderers in the next. However, if you want to have a proper view of DID, you mustn’t be quick to judge and assume their situation based on the movies you may have seen.
The difference with DID compared to bipolar disorder is that DID is not simply changes in moods or behavior of a person. Instead, it is having significant differences between separate, alternate identities. Most of the time, these personalities are entirely different from each other with their own distinct name, age, gender, moods, memories, and vocabulary.
Contrary to what we see in the movies, switches are not a big thing that is always noticeable. Changes in personalities are not always apparent and do not always end in sudden screaming or tantalizing actions. Most of the time, it goes unnoticed by others, and many only realize it after they realize that there are gaps in their memory. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why DID is very difficult to diagnose since others, including the person themselves, do not realize the switch but often have lapses in memory instead.
However, over time, learning when a person switches can become noticeable to family members because of mood, behavior, or personality changes. Most of the time, people who have had the condition for a very long time can already tell when they are about to switch. Despite this, there are no medications to treat a dissociative disorder or prevent a switch from happening, but there are a few who take antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.