Road to Understanding Mental Illness

Road to Understanding Mental Illness

Is that road well-worn or less traveled?

What if Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” were about mental illness? I know it’s not, but hang in there with me…

  • The well-worn path = the general public
  • The less traveled path = those who struggle and those who
    empathize.

It seems as though unless you’ve personally struggled with mental health battles…and realize it affects everyone differently…then you are the only ones who “get it.” The less traveled road is where true understanding lies. Where the empaths are. The path of those who undoubtedly get it.

Everyone has mental health concerns from time to time, but when it’s ongoing, affecting how you function in life…it’s then categorized as an illness.

18.5% of adults experience mental illness within a given year…mild to severe. However, 4% is so severe that it makes functioning day-to-day exceptionally arduous.

Those on the well-worn path seem to go about their days in their own bubble, providing ignorant advice, quoting clichés that come across as meaningless to those in this dire position. Such as…

  • You just need to think positive.
  • Be grateful for what you have.
  • You just need to rely on God.
  • Others have it worse than you.
  • Happiness is a choice.
  • Snap out of it/Get over it.
  • And on and on and on and on and on…

These comments aren’t helpful (More on that at another time).

Then, we have the overlooked title of the poem… “The Road Not Taken.”

My goal is twofold:

  1. Redirect those on the well-worn path to the road they didn’t take initially.
  2. Bring awareness to what mental illness truly means and how people can help eliminate the stigma that clouds it.

To those struggling…you are not alone in this. I’ve got your back.
See my About Page.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

~Robert Frost

Copyright © 2017 Alicia T-Rust. All rights reserved.

Also published on Medium.

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4 thoughts on “Road to Understanding Mental Illness

  1. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
    somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple
    tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know
    where you got your design. Bless you

  2. Alicia,
    I hate it when people give platitudes or cliche answers to those who are struggling. And telling people they just need to rely on God really makes them ask, “What is wrong with me, that I can’t get myself together.” I appreciated this post.

    • Thank you for reading. Yes, unfortunately I feel they really just don’t know what to say…or actually they think it’s great advice. There is not a one healing path that fits all. It’s a multifarious process.

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