Mental Health Should Always Be Treated Seriously

Mental Health Should Always Be Treated Seriously

Just because you cannot see someone's pain does not mean they are not hurting.

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I've always wondered why mental health is treated with such a stigma in our society. Millions of people go through life with mental illnesses and no one talks about it. When the conversation does come up, people will often think they are made up and say that the people suffering from them have control over their illness.

I can say that this is not true at all. After taking multiple psychology courses in school and talking to many individuals with mental illnesses, I've come to the conclusion that society needs to change the way it discusses mental illness. If they were called "brain diseases" for example, I feel like people would take it way more seriously, because it sounds more scientific and physical because it is something affecting the brain. For some reason, people think mental illnesses are "all in your head" and while they are not wrong, they also aren't right. I'm definitely not an expert on this topic, but I have seen how the world treats mental illness and I hope to see a change one day.

People take physical illnesses seriously. They do this because these are illnesses they can see and they know that people needed medicine to combat those physical illnesses. Some mental illnesses like schizophrenia and ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) are often taken more seriously than things like depression and anxiety because it is known that those illnesses require medicine to treat. Depression and anxiety are typically helped with therapy before moving on to medical treatments, so people believe things like that can be controlled by the individual, and that it can be easily stopped.

I think it is really unfair for someone who has never had a mental illness to be able to make conclusions about how someone else feels and what their thoughts are doing to them. From experience, I can say that anxiety and OCD are not things that are easily controlled. OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A disorder that is obsessive cannot be stopped with the snap of a finger. Anxiety can be highly debilitating for people and can take many different forms. I've seen what depression can do to people and I know the effects of it are horrible.

While these illnesses are not physical and cannot usually be seen, they are still there; they are still hurting the person suffering. Showing your support for those who suffer from these things is needed for them to feel like they're going to be okay. Never ever tell them to "just get over it" or "stop worrying" because you are not helping! Instead, take a nicer approach and ask them if they want to talk to you about it, or let them know that things will be okay, but do not force them to do things they do not want to do. Do not make them feel like they are weak for not being able to control how they are feeling.

It's sad that mental illnesses are not taken as seriously as they should be. These illnesses can take lives and they do every day. I hope more and more celebrities begin speaking out about them so that fans can feel like they are not alone. I hope to see the day where insurance companies will cover therapy as easily as they cover stitches. I hope schools implement mental health classes into their curriculum so kids can learn about them and understand what they are feeling. I hope colleges fund counseling centers more so that students won't have to wait months to talk to someone. A lot can happen in that time. Things need to change.

I took part in a podcast project for my psychology of pseudoscience class this semester and I was part of the mental health group. I learned a lot more about the topic and the whole experience made me realize how bad our understanding of mental illnesses are and how many stigmas still exist. I hope that one day that will change and that people suffering from these things won't feel alone and hopeless any longer.

Here's a link to the podcasts! They are not up just yet but will be soon. If you are interested in learning more about psychology topics like mental health, criminals, morality, free will and conspiracy theories, head over to the link.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

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Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to anxiety.org, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" (anxiety.org). I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per mayoclinic.org, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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