Let The Stigma Stop Right Here
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Let The Stigma Stop Right Here

It's pronounced mental illness, not crazy.

Let The Stigma Stop Right Here
The Diamond Back

What’s the first thing you think of when someone says mental disorder? Someone crazy? A disheveled person who talks to himself and hallucinates?

Or maybe a woman who pulls out and eats her own hair? And what about when I tell you that nearly 1 in 5 Americans will deal with a mental illness or disorder this year? That means 100 of the classmates in your 500 person lecture, or 2 of your 10 closest friends. Every single person you walk past each day has a 1 in 5 chance, and so do you. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and countless other illnesses affect almost 20% of the population, and are often pushed aside or brushed over because they’re illnesses fought inside someone’s head and not by antibiotics, a cast, or their immune system. And out of those 45.2 million people, I happen to be one of them.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive Compulsive Tendencies is basically just a lot of big words that mean I get overly and uncontrollably anxious over things most people feel little to no anxiety about. When I was younger this used to mean uncontrollable scratching at my skin, biting my nails, stammering, insomnia, and nightmares. I spent the last two years of high school learning how to manage it, staying constantly busy because any idle time was spent deep in my anxiety. I would have panic attacks in my car during off periods or between school and work, and avoided going home because that’s where my anxiety was at it’s worst. Even well into my freshman year of college, I would skip class because walking alone across campus made me too nervous to leave my room. If no one could come to the dining hall with me, I just wouldn’t eat. I compulsively tapped my fingers against everything, and if my right hand brushed against the door when entering my room then my left hand had to touch the door, too.

By the middle of the year, it was incredibly clear that this wasn’t working. No amount of breathing, making lists, or going to the gym was enough to curb the way I’d been feeling. It was time to bring out the big guns, and by the end of freshman year I was taking anti-anxiety medication. It came with immense muscle pain and fatigue, but I finally felt free of the weight that accompanied being anxious about my every move. My mind was clearer than it had been since elementary school and it opened up my world.

But the important part of this story isn’t the ending. It’s everything that leads up to that. It’s that I was an outwardly normal teenager. I had friends, went to parties, played basketball, headed yearbook committee, worked in retail, babysat, got good grades, and seemed happy. I blended seamlessly with everyone around me, even though my head was a mess. We stigmatize mental illness and disorders to such a degree that people don’t feel comfortable reaching out and end up trapped. It shouldn’t have taken me so long to ask for help, but after years of being told to ‘just stop thinking about it,’ or to ‘just calm down,’ by parents, peers, and friends, I didn’t think I’d be taken seriously.

When someone falls and breaks their leg we don’t tell them to walk it off. Someone with third degree burns isn’t told to just put ice on it. So when are we going to stop telling people with mental disorders to just get over it?

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

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments