You’re on your way to class, blueberry smoothie in hand, when you pass by a girl on crutches. Poor girl, you think, I hope she gets better soon! Before class, you stop by the bathroom. You open the door to hear weak wimpers coming from the stall; it sounds like someone’s crying. Why wouldn’t someone hold back her tears until she get to her dorm? You do your thing and get out of the bathroom as quickly as possible, you totally don’t want to be the first face the crying girl sees when she exits the stall.
Crying girl emerges from her puddle of sadness with swollen eyebrows and pouty lips. She throws on her cardigan and a few bracelets. After a quick makeup touch-up, she acts like nothing happened.
She struggles with mental health.
She may be depressed, anxious, obsessive, delusional, or a combination of all of the above.
But nobody knows.
Mental health dilemmas aren’t as obvious as physical health ones. You won’t see that crying girl walking down the hall showing the signs of weakness, she tries to hide it. She is ashamed of it. She doesn’t want anyone to know.
You will see a girl on crutches as struggling. I mean, how couldn’t you? She is struggling to walk up the stairs and to tie her shoe, so you offer to help. She is grateful for your help and now you feel like a hero.
But why would you help a crying girl you don’t know? That’s weird, right?
That crying girl may be your study buddy or the one you always ask for a pencil from in class. She may be the captain of the soccer team or the star of the play, perhaps even the valedictorian of your class. She may wear the cutest clothes and have the most aesthetically pleasing Instagram. Her organization skills are like no other and she always is there for a friend. She is seemingly perfect, the over achiever of all that comes her way.
Just because she has a perfect life does not mean she isn’t struggling. Sometimes, she may even find it hard to get out of bed in the morning (a different kind of hard than the usual morning drag). But, why would you ever assume that? Look at her, she’s perfect.
To the ones who don’t understand, please use your gut intuition if you think something is off about anyone. Lend a hand and your extra granola bar to the girl crying in the bathroom, offer to grab dinner with your study buddy to just chat and get to know each other, treat everyone the way you want to be treated.
Let’s end the stigma around mental health. MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH. It’s not invisible. It’s not fake. She’s not dramatic.
She struggles, and that’s okay.