Depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, these are only a few of the many mental illnesses that exist in our world today. October 7th to October 13th is Mental Illness Awareness week. October is also the National Depression Education & Awareness Month.
I have suffered or am suffering from depression and anxiety. Anxiety is rough because you're constantly paranoid or worried about things especially things that don't need to be worried about. It could also end up causing you to feel irrational fear over many things in life. I have an irrational fear of driving over a bridge while not in the middle lane(s). If I'm in the left or right lanes, I get this irrational thought that I'm going to swerve into the wall at whatever speed I'm going and either crash over the wall or just cause a pile-up on the road. Sometimes that thought becomes so real that I have to prevent myself from hyperventilating and start thinking about all the good things in my life. Getting out of that lane also helps immensely. Other times I'll think about worse-case scenarios. In some moments those are good because my ability to come up with a solution to any of those scenarios will help when I'm actually in that scenario. Other times the scenarios I make up are really bad because they'll cause me stress. If I'm texting my boyfriend and he isn't replying, I assume he's asleep unless he was driving home in which case I'll end up thinking he got into an accident so bad that he's unconscious or something. I had a dream like that once, and it has forever scared me. I've lost too many people that I care about to lose anymore.
Depression is a whole other ball game. Where I can be stressing about worst-case scenarios with my anxiety, I can become depressed thinking and over-thinking about those things. Depression isn't always feeling sad. It can be feeling hopeless about changing a situation or feeling guilty. It can also cause you to feel a loss in interest in things that used to make you feel happy. A person can also feel fatigued to the point where they can't get out of bed. They can have trouble sleeping or be irritable.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental illness that causes a person to have to do things a certain way, a certain number of times to feel calm or comfortable. For example, a person with OCD might feel the need to lock a door 12 times before feeling safe enough to go to bed. They might have certain patterns in which they need to do things as well. Many people I know have said that they are OCD, but they aren't or at least not severely. There are certain things I obsess over. For example, when I'm at work (I work in fast-food), I like to make sure any food I make is the quality I expect if I were ordering it. Or regarding cleanliness on shift, I make sure that the restaurant or at least my position is clean, and I clean it a specific way to make sure it is clean. Others don't understand why it takes me so long to clean something when they could do it in half the time, but this is the reason.
All of these mental illnesses are stigmatized on a daily basis. The people with them are written off as "not normal" or "damaged" or "weird." We need to work as a whole to prevent the stigma of these illnesses because say a teenager has depression and thoughts of suicide. Perhaps they tried reaching out but felt that the person they were reaching out to wasn't helping them, so they left and killed themselves that night. That person didn't feel comfortable talking about their feelings because they were afraid of being judged for feeling that way. Why do we judge people that just need a friend? A person with anxiety might just need a tight hug from someone they love when they're having an anxiety attack or even to hear that person's voice telling them they can relax or that they love them. The stigma surrounding these illnesses needs to disappear, or when we need help, there is going to be no one for us to turn to.