Lets Talk About The Stigma
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Lets Talk About The Stigma

Ignorance does not help deaden the stigma, but is it the primary cause?

75
Lets Talk About The Stigma
Pexels

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed a week ago and came across a tweet that immediately caught my eye. A girl named Megan Wood tweeted, “What bothers me is we get our eyes and teeth checked out twice a year and get physicals once a year… but why not our brains? Mental health is important.”

I felt led to reply instantly, “Wow, I love this.”

When I was asked what I wanted to focus on for Odyssey, I said that I wanted to write about mental health. Why? Because mental health is important. Currently, mental health tends to be disregarded and believed less significant than physical health. I want to help change that.

Like most children, my parents taught me at a young age that it is what’s on the inside that actually matters. Not whether or not you have the straightest teeth or the perfect body, but instead the kindest heart. But if what’s on the inside is the most essential part of our being, why is there downplay of mental illnesses in our society? Students are simply excused from school when they catch a cold, but are still obligated to be present at classes when they are emotionally unstable to the point of harming themselves or those around them.

Why is it like that?

Unfortunately, people generally glamorize mental illnesses or look down on people with mental illnesses, so the stigma remains which makes it tough for those struggling to receive the guidance that they desperately need.

The dance with depression is all too familiar for me, so let me tell you something. There is absolutely nothing beautiful about depression and it is NOT romantic. Retweeting black and white pictures of a person self-harming with a quote about depression as the caption made to look artistic and enchanting is a dangerous trend you are enabling. You may think that your retweet is raising awareness, but it is actually doing so in a way that it is making depression seem desirable. Being depressed is not flaunting over the internet pictures of mascara running down your cheeks or tweeting that a beautiful boy saved you from your depressed thoughts by saying a few sweet words. I do not mean to come off as insensitive to those that actually are depressed, but I am asking you to please stop “raising awareness” the wrong way. Stop trying to make depression look beautiful because it’s not, it’s painful.

If people aren’t romanticizing and glamorizing mental illnesses, often they believe people with mental illnesses are either crazy or think they’re lying. Unlike physical illnesses, there is no indication of the internal damage on the outside; but allow me to propose some concise insight: our brains have neurotransmitters which are the messages that travel from one cell to another in the brain and if the chemical messenger is interrupted it disrupts the messages that are supposed to be sent to the brain and becomes unbalanced somewhere in the levels of serotonin and dopamine. A person that battles a mental illness can’t control it, but YOU can control how you perceive it. A mental illness does not make you crazy but constantly being told, “You can control your thoughts so stop,” or “It’s your fault because you don’t think positive,” makes someone struggling feel like they are delusional. Don’t get me wrong, these propositions are beneficial for anyone that doesn’t wrestle a mental illness, but it is essential to be aware that not everyone’s brain and emotions function as well as yours might. To those struggling, never allow yourself to be associated with people that think you’re crazy for something you can’t control or worse- people that think you’re lying. Not everyone is going to fathom the concept, but you deserve people in your life that will put in an effort to understand and never judge you regardless of what you fight.

I wrote this because I was just recently with a girl that has been diagnosed with mental illness but she caught me off guard when she carelessly said, “I sent in an anonymous tweet that gave a girl an eating disorder,” and then laughed. She so easily brushed off something that 3% of the entire population suffers from, one of my closest friends battles every single day, and something I have fought so hard. Anorexia stems from a distorted self image and serious mental flaws that cause many physical symptoms as well. It angered me that someone that is diagnosed with mental illness talked about mental illness with such ignorance.

That made me realize something; people are educated on the issue but the stigma is still very debilitating.

Although ignorance does not help deaden the stigma, are we placing too much prominence on it as the primary cause? What could be worse than ignorance? A false recognition.

What obstructs people’s ability to fathom the concept is the reality of alike emotions that propose illnesses like anxiety and depression can be related by everyday feelings. This incorrect awareness stems from the complication that many mental illnesses are slightly similar to fundamental human emotions. This is why part of the stigma suggests to “just get over it,” and make it easy to disregard mental illnesses. What people lack understanding of is that even though similarities exist, the severity of mental illnesses is not being portrayed correctly.

Everyone worries and gets sad sometimes. If these weren’t familiar emotions, everyone would be much more concerned when people got diagnosed with anxiety or depression. People believe they can disregard anxiety or depression because they feel like they know what it is like, but they don’t.

Ignorance does add to the stigma surrounding mental illness, but the false belief that everyone does understand and tries to treat with insignificant advice is actually the primary contributor to the stigma.

Regardless of why there is a stigma, what matters is it’s still there. And it kills. Ending the stigma starts with one person, maybe that person can be you.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
11 Songs That Will Hit You In The Feels, No Doubt About It

One of my favorite things to do when it comes to music is making different playlists on Spotify. I find it so fun to go back to old songs, find new ones, and categorize them into my different playlists. We all have that one playlist that we resort to when we are really feeling some type of way — also known as a "feels" playlist. If you have one of these playlists or feel ~inspired~ to make one, here are 11 songs that are a must to add.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

To My Fellow Girls With Resting B**** Face

A letter to my friends with RBF about understanding your own face and helping others deal with it.

2096
Jupe du Jour

To the girl with resting b**** face:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Boyfriends Of The 2000s

Thank you, J14, for the Posters

4734
J14 magazine

Every girl remembers her first crush. Even if your first crush was the boy in your kindergarten class that ate crayons, your first true love will always be the one that holds the key to your heart. Growing up in the 2000s, everyone knew who your dream guy was. Your family probably still give you grief and your best friends probably still reminisce, so it is impossible to forget your first celebrity crush. You bought a Tiger Beat magazine every chance you could just to read up about what your favorite celebrity was doing. Your room was fully decorated with posters of them, and it wasn't unusual to have fights with your best friends over who was going to marry him. If you were a 90's baby, lucky you because the 2000s were full of boys that were easy to love. I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane and quickly realize that Bieber was definitely not the first guy with that hair cut. Here are 15 90's baby's first boyfriends.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

20 Things I Learned By The Start of My 20s

No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either.

14996
Allyson Foutty

We are all often faced with many life challenges throughout the time leading up to our 20s. Before this time, and throughout it, we often look back at the things we've learned and how they've influenced who we are as people today. Some of my biggest influences were some of the challenges I've faced, but they've taught me 20 important things by the start of my 20s.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Boyfriend Recipe

The ingredients to build a relationship are a little more complicated than just a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy.

12015

Relationships. Long distance or not, significant others are much more than just that. I would be lying if I said I did not love the sweet gestures that only a boyfriend can give. The flowers, funny phone calls, hand holding, breakfast dates, and tight hugs are special but my relationship and many others out there exist on much more than just these little gestures. It is a tricky concoction that consists of one part boyfriend and two parts best friend and would not work without one part or the other. While having a relationship may not be quite as easy as baking a batch of cookies, it has its own recipe (with a few variations for flavor) to follow for a good match.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments