I've really become smitten with YouTuber Jessica Kellgran-Fozard. Besides having an amazing vintage style and welcoming camera personality, she also is never afraid to speak her mind and share her options on important and controversial topics. One such opinion was on the topic of disability and whether someone is "disabled enough" to be considered disabled.
While Jessica speaks mainly on her experiences with her genetic disorders, I like that she brings mental illnesses into the disability arena. Often times, when one thinks about a person with a disability, a person in a wheelchair comes to mind (literally do a google search and I swear that it's the first thing that pops up). And even with Jessica's genetic disability, even though she does not look obviously disabled, she does have physical manifestations of her disability. The tricky thing about mental illness is that they are truly naked to the human eye.
I think this is where a lot of the stigma comes from that keeps people from realizing that yes, mental illnesses are indeed disabilities and deserve to be treated as such. All most people who have never suffered with, say anxiety think that anxiety is just being a little anxious sometimes. Everyone experiences anxiety so because people can't see the anxiety level of someone with an actual anxiety disorder, they just associate it with what they personally know about anxiety.
And those jokes and memes people see on a daily basis about mental illness do not help this case. Yes, making jokes and poking fun likely opened the door for people to start talking about mental illness, but it also brought about the normalization of mental illness. A MINORITY of people have a mental illness. Yes, it's common but not EVERYONE suffers from it.
Having OCD isn't just wanting things to be neat and clean.
Having anxiety isn't just about being a little anxious.
Having depression isn't just being sad.
These mental illnesses are REAL illness and the people who have them are, for all intents and purposes, disabled by them.
There is no disabled enough. If someone has something holding them back from living their life, they are disabled. Period. Instead of wasting time figuring out who is disabled and who isn't, we should spend time helping people live a happy, healthy and wonderful life, whatever that might look like.