Why We Need To Speak Up About Mental Illness
Health and Wellness

Why We Need To Speak Up About Mental Illness

Myths Surrounding Mental Illness

605
Why We Need To Speak Up About Mental Illness
www.healthination.com

“Get over it, it’s all in your head.”

“You have no reason to be depressed. People have it so much worse than you.”

“People who kill themselves are cowards.”

“You take antidepressants because you aren't strong enough to deal with reality.”

“I mean you're just sad, how bad it can it really be?”

"So are you crazy or something?"

These are just some of the harmful misconceptions that surround mental illness.

I could go on and on about how ridiculous and harmful these statements can be to someone that suffers from a mental illness but it is impossible to explain the extent to someone who hasn't suffered from a mental illness. If you really don’t understand why anyone would “kill themselves.” If you really don’t get why people with anxiety and depression suffer.

Consider yourself lucky. You are lucky that you have never laid in your bed day in and day out crying for hours until the tears stop coming and you become numb. You are lucky that you have never felt so worthless and meaningless that you consider taking your own life. You are lucky that you have never had to experience the pain in your chest, the feeling of drowning and the extensive anxiety that comes with a panic attack. I am truly happy that you have never had to experience the crippling feelings that come with these illnesses. I am so happy that you have never had to suffer from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or any other mental illness. However, just because it has never affected you does not justify ignorance.

The lack of awareness about mental illness strengthens these misconceptions. It feeds into the stigma that surrounds it.

Some myths:

“It’s all in your head.”

Yes. It is in their head. But not because it doesn’t exist in their reality or because it is made up, but because their brain is sick. How is it that people know and accept that someone's lungs, heart, kidneys and everything in between can get sick but yet can't fathom that the brain, the most important organ, can also get sick. Just because the symptoms aren't visible to the naked eye, does not mean that they do not exist. Just because you can't see their illness it plain sight does not give you the right to undermine it. You do not get to dictate the health of someone else. When someone is at the lowest point in their life, the last thing they need is someone questioning the legitimacy of their suffering. So lets STOP DOING IT.

Don’t believe me? Here are some facts. Brain scans have shown that people with depression have decreased brain activities. It has been proven time and time again that chemical imbalances of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine play a huge role in several mental illnesses. Just because there is no known pin point cause or cure for these illnesses does not discredit their reality.

"Mental illnesses are uncommon"

According to https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/myths-facts/ , one in 5 American adults have experienced a mental health issue. One in 25 Americans lives with a mental illness such as schizophrenia, anxiety or depression. Want to know why these numbers sound so insane to you? Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. The fear of being judged, called crazy and told its "all in their head" has caused people to shelter part of who they are away from society. It has caused people to be ashamed of who they are over something that is completely out of their control.

"People with a mental illness can't function in society."

Only 3 to 5 percent of people with mental illness commit violent acts and aren’t able to fully function in society(mentalhealth.gov). EVEN THEN, there are a variety of treatments available to them to reintegrate them into society.

"People who kill themselves are cowards.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. More than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have an underlying mental illness. (mentalhealth.gov) Suicide is a deadly result of an illness. Lack of treatment, lack of available resource and the fear of being judged for asking for help, have led these people to believe that it is the only choice they have left.Yet people continue to attribute their suicide to a flaw in their character. People continue to call these people "cowards" who couldn't handle the "harsh reality of life". This needs to end. They are not cowards. They perceive reality from the distorted lens of their mental illness. They don't see things in the same way you do. Everything looks different. Their subjective experience is their reality. Maybe, just maybe, if people were educated about mental illness and weren't afraid to openly discuss the risk factors behind them, people wouldn't be so scared to reach out for help and perhaps they wouldn't see suicide as their only option. Instead of shaming people for their something that is completely out their control, be empathetic. Be patient. Educate yourself and help them get the help they need.

"Mental illness is romantic"

Stop romanticizing mental illness.

This is just as harmful as not talking about mental illness at all. Mental illness is not cute. It is not adorable. It's not something that can be cured by meeting your one true love or by smoking cigarettes under a night sky. Anorexia isn't sexy. OCD isn't quirky. Hallucinations are not beautiful. Being depressed does not make you artsy. Having anxiety does not make you cute. Mental illness is not romantic and it is not something that should be celebrated.

"Symptoms of mental illnesses are in the control of the person"

NOBODY CAN JUST STOP THEIR MENTAL ILLNESS. Someone with anxiety can't just "stop worrying." Someone with depression can't just "cheer up." Someone with anorexia can't just "eat." Someone that self-harms can't just "stop cutting." Just like someone with a broken bone can't just "fix their bone", people with mental illnesses can't just stop their symptoms, they need professional help.

"People are defined by their mental illness."

Having a mental illness is not a weakness. It is just like having a disease. They can be treated. They can be helped. They are not to be looked down on. No one is defined by their mental illness. You don’t define someone by their asthma. Just like you shouldn’t define someone by their depression. While many mental illnesses are chronic diseases, their symptoms can be kept in check with the correct treatment. People can have depression and not have symptoms for years. However, relapse is common. This does not make these people failures. It is part of the road to recovery. While having a mental illness makes things a little bit harder for these people it does not make it impossible. No one is defined by their mental illness.


If you take anything from this article, take this: SPEAK UP. Become educated. Be willing to ask questions. Reach out. Don't be afraid to shed light on these issues because that fear is what formed the stigma in the first place.

So I am here, speaking up. I have had depression and anxiety since I was 11 years old. While I have had times where it consumed my life and I couldn’t function, I have learned how to manage them and lead a normal life. I used to be afraid to say these words for fear of being judged, ridiculed and defined by it. However, In the past few years, I have realized that it is not only okay for me to speak up but necessary. I speak up so that hopefully in the future another 11-year-old girl doesn’t cry because she feels like she is to blame for something that is of her control or feel “crazy” and “wrong." I speak up for those that don’t have the courage to yet. I speak up so others won't have to suffer from stigma. I speak up to say that I have a mental illness. It is real but it does not define me. I speak up to stop these harmful misconceptions. I speak up so others will have the strength to.

I fell victim to the stigma of mental illness as the majority of us have but now I refuse to be quiet anymore. This stigma needs to end.


Speak up.

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

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Caribbean is a place where people go for vacation, but if you set out from a cruise ship you miss out on all the beautiful culture. Their exotic beaches are nothing without their zinging food and hospitality. Locals in the Caribbean are warmhearted with a zest to live life to the fullest.

This is exactly where most of their words and phrases come from, having a good time. I definitely enjoyed myself living in the Caribbean, but it's not always about lounging. They get work done too and I've learned proper phrases for accomplishments.

Keep Reading... Show less

According to Urban Dictionary, a "simp" is defined as "a man that puts himself in a subservient/submissive position under women in the hopes of winning them over, without the female bringing anything to the table." There are many other definitions for a "simp," but basically it's shaming men who are kind to women without getting anything in return.

Let's just stop attacking nice men. Work out your own issues, don't project your shortcomings onto another man. What happened to the brotherhood? Y'all can lie for each other, but can't raise each other up? You guys can encourage murder, gang rape, and violence against women — or at least stay silent about it — but can't let your brother know it ain't cool when they bring you down for being nice to women with no expectation?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Self-Love Is The Best Love, That's Just How It Is

Do you ever feel like you can't please everyone? Self-love will do the trick.

I've been feeling a little down lately, with the understanding that friends don't last forever and that I can't always please my parents. Life has been rough for everyone lately and it's not easy to stay happy and optimistic during these times. But I promise you, you are on this earth for a reason. You are here because God formed you, to love, and to be loved.

When things are tough, realize that you have yourself always. No one can take that away from you. You will always be you. No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you've been in life, at the end of the day, you are you. You can love you, therefore giving you one reason to stay here on this Earth.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Nobody Wants To Grieve, But That's The Price We Pay For Love

Grief never comes when you think it should. It comes when a certain song comes on or the sun shines through the window just right.

Death always seems to come when life is good and everything starts to be going alright. And then out of nowhere, you're reminded of how cruel life can be. The stages of grief don't always go in order, they come in waves or all at once. Grief never comes when you think it should. It comes when a certain song comes on or the sun shines through the window just right. I take comfort in the fact that everyone experiences grief, even when you feel all alone knowing that everyone goes through a process that helps a little bit.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In August For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your end of summer binge-watch list.

Flower Films, Warner Bros, New Line Cinema

August is here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones. Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during August.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Living With Bipolar Disorder Is An Everyday Battle, But I'm Fighting It

I went from depression, to anxiety, to bipolar disorder.

I've thought about how to write this since my diagnosis. I've thought about what kind of feelings it might bring up from my mom, former friends, and even myself. I've rewritten it a thousand times in my head, but never could quite get the words onto my notepad, but tonight I'm going to sit down and write it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

There's No Reason To Delay The 2020 Election Because Mail-In Votes Count Just The Same

Plus, Trump can't actually the delay the election even if he tried.

Donald Trump started Thursday out in a fury, taking to Twitter to suggest the 2020 election be delayed.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

I'm A Black, Gay Fashion Lover Who Grew Up In The South, And I Want To Be A Beacon For The Future

Giving your life story is never easy, but it can be, if you want to make a difference.

Jacorey Moon

Growing up in Georgia was not always the accepting place we know it to be today thanks to Atlanta. Let me preface this by saying, I had a pretty good life growing up. I was raised by a single mother who sacrificed so that I could live the life that I lived. I was spoiled rotten. One way that my mother spoiled me was through clothing.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 10 Black Women Were Our 2000s Fashion Icons — We're Still Replicating Their Looks Now

We recollect on some of the Black stars who served as fashion icons during the 2000s.

When we talk about the 2000s, it's always filled with nostalgia. For most of us, we grew up during that era with the razr flip phones or sidekicks, and decade staple designers like Juicy Couture, Von Dutch, and Ed Hardy. It was time of daring fashion choices and red carpets that we now look back on and say, "what were they wearing?"

A sector of people that exemplifies the fashion icons who ruled the 2000s, were Black women. So, I feel as though it's my duty to shine light on these fashion icons. Here they are:

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

As a college student (really as a broke person with no cable,) Netflix is my go-to for solitude- style entertainment. My favorite types of shows to watch on Netflix by far, are dating shows.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments