There's a world-wide epidemic against illnesses we can't see with our own eyes.
I'm not naive. I know this stigma we have against mental health isn't something new, and I know I've had my fair share of stigma-induced thoughts and feelings towards mental health myself.
But that doesn't excuse the fact that this is something that still needs to be changed about the way we talk about mental illness. And, when we talk about mental illness, there are a lot of important things we have to keep in mind.
First of all, we need to talk about it.
There is no worse feeling in the world than one that leads you to believe you can't get better, that whatever dark place your in is all there is for you. No one deserves to feel trapped in their own head.
The reason so many people do is that a lot of the times mental health is put on the backburner and not treated with the same care as things we can always see physically.
Second, a perspective change comes from empathy.
Every personal experience is different, and none of them are invalid. But the key word here is different.
I think one of the hardest and most rewarding things to learn how to do put distance between your story and someone else's, especially if they're coming to you for help.
Empathy comes from understanding, but understanding can't come from overshadowing.
Third, do your research.
Again, every personal experience is different, and although I feel like I know a lot about mental health from my own experiences, I only know a fragment of the big picture.
There is research for a reason, and no, it won't tell you everything you need to know, but research can be as complex as diving through big textbooks or as simple as asking someone about it. Don't make assumptions, don't judge, and be open to learning.
And, most importantly, remember it's okay not to be okay.
The stigma against mental health is not something that is going to disappear in an instant, as much as we would like it to. But change does come from talking, and as soon as we learn how to talk, we can get the conversations we need to have going, and then we'll see real change.