Millions of people are diagnosed with a mental illness and it's absolutely terrifying because you don't know what kind of mood you're going to be in. Sometimes you have good days and others you just want to curl up in a ball and cry. The people who don't have a mental illness don't understand what it's like and tell someone who's struggling to "grow up" and "that it's not the end of the world". It is NOT a choice and it's NOT a cry for help. Just because we have good days does not mean we have been miraculously cured. Everyone does not have the same experience with their illness. We are not our mental illness, we are alive and whoever we choose to be. We are more than our mental illness. There are a lot of sigmas that come with being labeled as a person with a mental illness. The stigma of mental illness, discourages adolescence as well as adults from seeking the medical care that is needed. Mental illnesses are misunderstood and are often looked on as able to be corrected by the sufferer.
1. You're either mentally ill or mentally healthy.
Similar to the way a physically healthy person may still experience minor health issues — like bad knees or high cholesterol — a mentally healthy person may experience an emotional problem or two. Mental health is a continuum and people may fall anywhere on the spectrum.
Even if you are doing well, there's a good chance you aren't 100% mentally healthy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates only about 17% of adults are in a state of "optimal" mental health.
2. Mental illness is a sign of weakness.
As someone who trains people to build mental strength, I sometimes receive backlash from individuals who claim the phrase "mental strength" somehow stigmatizes mental illness. Those comments come from people who automatically assume people with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions are mentally "weak."
Mental strength is not the same as mental health. Just as someone with diabetes could still be physically strong, someone with depression can still be mentally strong. Many people with mental-health issues are incredibly mentally strong. Anyone can make choices to build mental strength, regardless of whether they have a mental health issue.
3. You can't prevent mental health problems.
You certainly can't prevent all mental health problems — factors like genetics and traumaticlife events play a role. But everyone can take steps to improve their mental health and prevent further mental health. Establishing healthy habits — eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, participating in regular exercise — can also go a long way to improving how you feel. Similarly, getting rid of destructive mental habits, like engaging in self-pity or ruminating on the past, can also do wonders for your emotional well-being.
4. People with mental illness are violent.
Unfortunately, when the media mentions mental illness, it's often in regard to a headline about a mass shooting or domestic violence incident. Although these headlines frequently portray many violent criminals as being mentally ill, most people with mental health problems aren't violent.
The American Psychological Association reports that only 7.5% of crimes are directly related to symptoms of mental illness. Poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, and homelessness are among the other reasons why people commit violent acts.
5. Mental health problems are forever.
Not all mental health problems are curable — schizophrenia, for example, doesn't go away. But most mental health problems are treatable. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that between 70 and 90% of individuals experience symptom relief with a combination of therapy and medication. Complete recovery from a variety of mental health issues is often possible.