It is very typical in society for people to pretend to have a mental illness or other disorder in a crude attempt to get attention. I know of girls who did this in middle and high school because it was "cool" to have depression or "cool" to have anxiety.

These girls would post about it on social media constantly about wanting to die, being too anxious to move, or too depressed to leave their house. I know that they were fake about how they felt because in 2013 girls would do anything to get followers on Instagram. Not only that, but I personally know these girls who did this. You see, it was so "cool" and so "in" to have a disorder like these because they sounded cool. Their names were so long and our seventh-grade minds found that fascinating.

Not thinking that people actually suffer from these diseases and disorders all over the world. I can't say that I faked having a disorder, but I can say that I have been mocked for having anxiety and depression.

I didn't learn about mental health until my junior year of high school. I remember feeling myself deteriorate at a quick rate. My thoughts were consumed with the ACT, AP exams, a breakup, college, friends, etc. I found myself so busy focusing on everything around me that I forgot to focus on me. I never even put much thought into focusing on me until the summer before my sophomore year of college. Until I had learned the mental health stigma, people suck, and anxiety is a real thing, I had spent all my time isolated in my mind. I didn't talk about my feelings for fear that I would be called crazy, attention-seeking, or a liar. Just like what people called the girls who would post on social media faking an illness.

I didn't know of anyone who had a literally been diagnosed with any mental illness and I certainly didn't want to be the first one to talk about it. So I bit my tongue and stayed silent. I stayed silent until I went crazy. In the spring of my freshman year of college, I had a breakdown. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The way I felt, the way I shook, the way my mind STILL told me to not speak up about it made me feel like I had no use for the world. I felt as though I was suffering alone and nobody knew what was actually happening. Nobody knew until I broke down to the point of admitting myself to the psychiatric unit. Even when I got the treatment I knew I needed and was on my road to recovery, I still felt as though I couldn't talk about how I felt.

I couldn't talk about how I felt because my parents often mocked me if I told them that my anxiety was so high I couldn't breathe. I was mocked when I couldn't leave my bed for four days because my depression sat on my legs and paralyzed me. I was mocked when I finally decided to talk about what I was going through because "my life isn't that hard or stressful, so why do I feel the need to escape it by pretending to go crazy?" I was mocked when I finally came up with an explanation as to why I thought I was feeling as low as I was. I was mocked because pretty girls don't get sick.

Smart girls don't break down. Girls who have a strong support system don't struggle. I was mocked because the number of Instagram followers I have determines if I am allowed to be ill or not. I was mocked because nineteen-year-old girls don't get depressed. I was mocked before and after I came clean about my feelings and thoughts. This is why people don't speak up when they're struggling. This is what is wrong with society. We think that because someone looks a certain way or has a certain status in society that they couldn't possibly be sad. We think as a society that pretty girls can't cry. We think that people who talk about their dark times are faking it because who in their right mind can talk about the past like it's not a thing anymore?

What I don't understand is why we try to encourage people to talk about the hard times, the dark times, and the in-between times when all we're going to do is mock them right back. How dare I come forward about my struggles? Society has become this place where we can't speak our minds anymore. We can't say anything without fear of being judged or mocked, so listen to me when I tell you that you are allowed, you are entitled to talk about what you feel. And I won't judge you. I won't mock you. And I certainly won't tell you that what you're feeling is wrong.