Mental Illness Is Not Taboo

by Briana Jenkins 8 months ago in advice

*Mention of various mental issues such as abuse and eating disorders*

Mental Illness Is Not Taboo

Looks can be deceiving.

Everyone you ever come across could be battling something that you simply cannot see.

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, whatever it may be; there’s more people living with some form of mental illness than one would think or like to think. Every year 42.5 million Americans alone, suffer from some mental illness according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Think about how many people globally live with a mental illness. That society generally mocks or demeans. Because of that stigma, so many people never go diagnosed and can potentially harm themselves or others because they don’t want to be labeled as crazy, insane, or a burden. It’s so common yet not talked about, most of us even know the meds doctor would put us on. Zoloft, Klonopin, Adderall, Xanax, Lithium, a slew of brand name meds that exist in the vernacular. Two of the three meds listed above are even used as recreational drugs.

Anthony Bourdain, Avicii, Chester Bennington, Hemingway, Kate Spade, Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf. Robin Williams’ 5th death anniversary just passed last week (August 11th 2019).

All of these people, were people of influence, people one could look up to, people that even made others smile. Yet, so many of them, took their own lives. Whether they were suffering from depression, substance abuse, or a cocktail of many illnesses they could’ve been afflicted by.

Mental illness is not something you can see, you can’t look at someone and be able to determine if they suffer from major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or anxiety. It is something you feel, and not something to be taken lightly or to ridicule.

So many people will view suicide as a tragedy, but will at the same time view suicidal ideation or a person seeking help as an “attention seeker.” Yeah, they’re trying to get your attention... so you can help them get the professional help that they may need. Therapy, a psychopharmacologist, a stay in a ward; whatever it may be, they want your help, their gathering their strength to indirectly ask you for it... and you... tell them it’s all in their head?

All in their head… almost like it’s a mental illness that affects their mental state. Astonishing.

Take care of your silent friends, take care of your isolated family, take care of your smiling and always laughing friends, take care of your reckless ones too. Mental illness doesn’t have one specific “look,” and it never hurts to check in on those you care about.

Not everyone finds it easy to ask for help, not everyone can admit they have a mental issue. Sometimes they need a nudge, someone they care about to see the things that they don’t want you to see.

Talk to your friends, family, trusted and loved one.

See a professional, get help, get meds, therapy, whatever it is that makes it better.

Stop the stigma that makes talking about your mental health taboo and something that is better NOT seen and NOT heard.

Because mental illness is not taboo.

It can be a matter of life and death.

Below are just some resources you can try:

  • 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) - National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) - National Hopeline Network
  • 1-866-488-7386 (1-866-4.U.TREVOR aimed at gay and questioning youth)
  • 800-799-7233 (National Domestic Abuse Hotline)
  • 1-800-931-2237 or text NEDA to 741741 (National Eating Disorder Association/ NEDA helpline)
  • 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network/RAINN)

If you or someone you know is in immediate need or in an emergency call 911 or your local emergency number. The numbers listed above are US centric.

As for where I’m getting my numbers from

Briana Jenkins
Briana Jenkins
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Briana Jenkins

Twenty One years young.

College Student studying English and Education.

Hopes of becoming an author and want to get my voice somewhere it's appreciated.

See all posts by Briana Jenkins