The Truth About Mental Illness
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

The Truth About Mental Illness

What we are doing wrong, and how to do better.

20
The Truth About Mental Illness
NAMI

May is the official Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 out of every 5 Americans, or approximately 42.5 million people, experience some form of mental illness every year. Chances are, you either know someone who is currently struggling with it or has struggled with it in the past, or you have experienced it yourself, first-hand.

Today, treatment and care for those suffering from mental illness has come a long way. Every year, researchers are learning more and more about how the human mind works, discovering new triggers, causes, solutions, preventive methods, medicines and therapies on how to best help patients. However, the biggest problem out there is not the scientific aspect of it all, but the social aspect.

Mental illnesses, which include conditions every bit as real and painful and life-threatening and scary as physical illnesses, have been dangerously distorted by our society.

It does this in mainly two ways: stigmatizing it and romanticizing it.

First, many people tend to brush off illnesses like anxiety disorders or depression by invalidating them. Can’t get out of bed? Labeled: lazy. Afraid to speak up? Labeled: socially incompetent.

For those who don’t understand the inner workings of a mind crippled by thoughts fueled by your mental illness(s), here is your first lesson: DO NOT JUDGE THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN LESS FORTUNATE THAN YOU. DON’T YOU DARE DISMISS THEIR STRUGGLES JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE THEM.

By doing so, you are making it nearly impossible for those who need professional help come out and ask for it. By saying their problems are imaginary, in their heads, or that they’re making a big deal out of nothing, you are literally gambling with their lives.

Each year, 44,193 Americans take their own lives. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.

It is hard enough to feel like you are losing control of your life, let alone admitting it to a world that already thinks you are weak and only “doing it for attention”.

Secondly, while one-half of the world criticizes your illness, the other half thinks the mental anguish is somehow...beautiful. The most prominent example of this would be images from Tumblr, which I know we’ve all seen. Black and white pictures, skinny girls with their collar bones and hip bones sticking out, photoshopped images of razor blades and candy-coloured pills...and so on.

I think images like this are especially dangerous because it gives you can excuse to “befriend” your illness. Sometimes, when you’re at a very low point, it is difficult to even remember what it feels like to be free of your pain and seeing images like these becomes a reason to stay in it, even to give up on trying to get better, which is absolutely unacceptable.

Mental illness is not a game, it is not something to be taken lightly, and it is NOT beautiful. It’s not like we romanticize cancer, so why do we do it depression?

May is a month where many come out of their seasonal depression cycles. It is when spring finally feels like spring, flowers bloom, the sun is shining, and summer is around the corner. Although this by no means is a cure for anything, it is a time to reflect upon those who have made it through another hard winter and pay your respects to those who didn’t.

For those reading this from the SAS community, Gina, may you rest in peace.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

22774
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

​Pets are Good for the Soul

Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

37846
Good for the Soul
Pets are Good for the Soul

America is going through a mental health crisis. This crisis predates the global pandemic, but has in many ways been dramatically exacerbated by it. In 2019, 19.86% of adults, or 50 million Americans, reported suffering from a mental illness. The emotional toll of the pandemic has been heavy, with over half of U.S. adults saying that they have experienced stress and worry related to Covid-19. Anxieties over work, uncertainty about the future and other triggers have intensified the mental health crisis. Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health?

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

157219
Sleep Position

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Throw the Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

111590
Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Prose: When The Gavel Falls (Story Excerpt)

Johnathan Yarrow is a successful defense attorney, until he takes on a personal case he cannot win. Ruined by the loss and haunted by his past, Yarrow, a man who desired to see the good in all people, starts to learn that not everyone can be good... not even himself.

106135
Prose: When The Gavel Falls (Story Excerpt)
https://unsplash.com/s/photos/lawyer

I woke up, like any other night, in a bed full of nightmares, drenched in sweat that stuck coldly to my skin, as a reminder of the dreams I couldn’t escape. The dream was so vivid, I felt it physically burn on my cheek. I wondered if the sting from the slap was worse simply because her eyes held no remorse, not an ounce of respect.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments