My Mental Illness Isn't A Punchline

My Mental Illness Isn't A Punchline

So why do I treat it like one?

New year, same old me. I see no reason to start 2018 with a reinvention of myself. Honestly, any quality of mine that was terrible enough to warrant change should already be different by now. If I haven't changed it, it's not a problem, or, it's so much of a problem that I I'm still not really sure what to do about it. That's settled.

There is, however, one tiny thing that I'm committing to changing right now. It's not because of the new year - I'm a woman of my word - but I happened to recognize this truly terrible personal character trait right as 2017 was closing up, so this timing is pure coincidence. This is not a New Year's Resolution. This is me trying to be a better human, because I am constantly trying to improve myself. Not because a 7 changing to an 8 inspired me with the will and passion of one million suns and moons. Or whatever.

With that cleared up, let me jump right in to a brutal criticism of my biggest personality flaw to date: I make a lot of jokes about mental illness.

I was on a crowded subway earlier this month and, out loud, with no regard for the strangers within earshot, proclaimed: "If I don't kill myself today it will literally be a miracle." (Side note, I also say literally far too frequently but there's simply nothing to be done about that.)

So yeah, that's me. I joke about wanting to die at least ten times a day and I joke about wanting to make myself throw up and I joke about being "crazy".And I wish I could blame it on ignorance or indifference but I can't. Because I deal with mental illness on the daily, and I'm aware of the impact words can have on someone suffering from mental illnesses. I know that mental illness is turned into a punchline, or a trend, or a relatable meme way too often. I know that the way mental illness is spoken about needs to change in order for it to be taken seriously, because even though millions of people suffer, mental disorders are still treated as throwaway diagnoses.

I can't even say that it's a coping mechanism, because the fact is, I'm not hiding from anything. I'm perfectly comfortable talking about difficult emotions and personal experiences. I don't shy away from sharing my own battles with mental illness because I recognize the importance that has in normalizing struggling and in advocating for mental health equality.

I joke about mental illness because I don't take it seriously. I don't take it seriously because sometimes it is hard to take myself seriously, to validate my own emotions, and because I have been shown repeatedly that it isn't a big deal.

Mental illness IS a big deal. It's not something to shy away from but it's not something to joke about either. For my own sake, for the sake of my friends, for the sake of anyone else out there who struggles daily to not only deal with their mental illness, but to recognize it as real and valid, I'm done joking. I can't advocate for mental health equality while I'm simultaneously undermining the severity of these issues.

In an effort to be a more decent human, to respect the validity of my own emotions, and to respect the importance of mental health, I'm trying to stop with the jokes. My mental health shouldn't be treated as a punchline, but before others validate it, I need to learn to acknowledge it myself.

Cover Image Credit: Volkan Olmez

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I Drank Lemon Water For A Week And Here's What Happened

It has already changed my life.


There are so many health crazes out there now, it's hard to tell what actually works and what doesn't; or more importantly what is healthy and what is making your body worse. I read about simply drinking lemon water and I figured that didn't sound gross or bad for me so I figured I would give it a try. I've been drinking it consistently for a week and a half and I already notice some results.

I've never been a fan of lemon in my water, I always refuse it at restaurants. You definitely have to find your sweet spot in lemon to water ratio, in what tastes good to you. I personally cut the lemon into quarters and use on quarter per day. I put the lemon quarter in the bottle and then continuously fill with water throughout the day. I still get the yummy lemon flavor all day because I do not squeeze the lemon. It took about a bottle or two to get used to the lemon flavor, and now I just crave it.

Lemon water is supposed to speed up your metabolism. Obviously, a week is not long enough to tell if this is fact or fiction but I have noticed a change in appetite. I feel like I do not get hungry as often as I did before. I saw this effect within 24-48 hours of starting the experiment. This seems opposite to a fast metabolism but we'll see.

I definitely feel more hydrated with lemon water. I drink a lot of water anyways, about 80 oz a day but for some reason with the lemon, it makes me feel better. I don't feel as sluggish, I'm not getting hot as easily, and my skin feels amazing. I am slightly skeptical though because the lemon almost makes my tongue dry requiring me to drink more water, so I have upped my intake by about 20oz. I'm unsure if the hydration is due to the extra water, the lemon, or both!

My face is clearing up and feels so much softer too, in only a week! I have not gotten a new pimple since I have started my lemon water kick, may be coincidence but I'm not going to argue with it.

I also feel skinnier as I feel like I'm not holding as much water weight. I only exercise lightly, for the most part, walking around a mile or two a day so we can eliminate exercise factor to the slender feeling.

I have a messy stomach. Everything upsets it, and even though lemons are very acidic, they have not affected me in a negative way at all. It almost seems like the lemon water is helping me digest the difficult foods that my stomach doesn't like. I'm nowhere near a doctor so don't trust my word but it seems to be working for me.

From the effects I've felt so far, it also seems like lemon water may be a great hangover cure! I haven't tried it but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I can't say a negative thing about drinking lemon water so far expect you have to buy the lemons! If you try this for yourself though just make sure you are using an enamel saving mouthwash or toothpaste since lemons aren't so great for your teeth.

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4 Truths Of Hiding Behind Masks Of Happiness

It's the sadness that remains unseen.


Why do we fake happiness? Why do we wear smiles on our faces as our hearts are crying? Why do we tell people we are “OK,” when we are dying on the inside? Is it because we feel no one would ever relate to our pain? Is it because we ourselves cannot be truthful about the personal struggle we are failing to acknowledge? Why do we feel like people could care less about our problems? Is it because we have experieneced an absurd amount of selfishness among our surroundings? Are we afraid sadness creates a sense of weakness?

I stare at my reflection every morning and see something exceedingly dissimilar in comparison to what I portray to the rest of the world. I never thought about sharing what it is that I see for the simple reason of tiresome fear. The fear that echoes in every corner of my mind is what withholds me from allowing anyone beneath skin surface.

My outer coating is what keeps me comfortably hidden. Seclusion allows my heart to never have the capability of breaking. But what greatness can spark from a lack of despair? Why should I be incredibly afraid of something that will further result in desired strength? I feel I will never be understood if I reveal what is below the illusion of joy that I paint on my face while tearing up. I must fight this, but how? How can I escape what has remained a part of my identity for an unbearable amount of time?

As I started craving answers, these ideas have lead me in a direction allowing me to shy away from my complexity...

1. Eliminate the thought that you must convey happiness to the world, if you are encountering massive amounts of pain internally. 

Keeping the agony hidden will only increase the harm that is consuming you. Confront the issues that you feel you may not have the strength to overcome. You will be surprised to find the depths of power that lie within you, that give you capability of fighting what you are facing. Do not underestimate yourself, even if you are given every reason to.

2. Understand that there are people who are experiencing similar demons.

When you are so invested with what is consuming your mind, it is easy to forget that there are others out there who would be able to give you guidance, or who will push you to perceive sadness differently. Open up to people, even if it means pushing past your hatred for vulnerability. Challenge the voice in your head convincing you that you are alone in what you are battling.

3. You are not a burden.

You are only burdening yourself by holding onto so much anguish and not releasing it. There is someone who would do anything to fix your pain! There is someone who needs to hear your story to be able to tell theirs! If anyone has ever made you feel pathetic for letting your guard down and revealing your inner scars, know that they perceive have not been right for you, but that doesn't mean the right people do not exist.

4. Own the importance of your struggle.

Do not let the doubts gain control. There is specialness in your particular misery. Give the proper amount of credit to what your heart and mind are undergoing. There is something beautiful you have to tell the world. And the world needs to hear it, more than you are allowing yourself to believe.

YOU ARE FAR FROM ALONE. Although you may feel like you are trapped into the art of persuasion under the control of your agonizing insecurities. You do not need to run away from your excruciating heartache. SHARE YOUR RIVETING STORY, IT WILL HEAL OTHERS AND PUSH YOU TO FIND A SENSE OF EXTRAORDINARY FREEDOM FROM ADVERSITY!

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