For as long as I can remember I have had feelings of sadness, separation, anxiousness, and just feeling too God damn overwhelmed with being alive. Hear me out. I am not branded with a mental illness nor am I an ambassador for my friends with mental illnesses. But I can't help feel like I am almost always sad or pretending not to be.
"Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other." - Sid Garza-Hillman
Stigma, defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a quality, circumstance, or person,” is a word that I have heard almost every day of my life. By being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I am seen by many people as someone who is “lesser” than others, someone who has chosen the life of attraction to not only males but females, as well. But it doesn’t stop there for me. Ever since I was fourteen years old, I have been defined by something that is out of my control. I have been seen as someone who is unworthy of many things and someone who is seeking attention, all because of the mental illness that I did not choose to have. Depression and anxiety, two serious mental illnesses that have unfortunately become more common, are now seen as just another thing that defines people, another part of someone’s personality. It is often seen as only a negative thing; however, through first-hand experience I have noticed that there are positives to these illnesses as well. I believe that every negative comes with a positive, and although it takes a lot of work to notice both sides, it is definitely worth it in the end.
“Your illness is not your identity. Your chemistry is not your character.” — Pastor Rick Warren
Sometimes we're powerless about the things we come into contact with in our daily lives. We are, however, in control of how we react to these things and how we let those things it into our life.
The stigma around mental illness isn’t what we are led to believe. What is the stigma around mental illness? Why is there stigma around mental illness? These are the questions we need to answer before we can begin to solve the problem. If we can’t answer these questions, all our attempts to get rid of the stigma will only cause more problems. The truth about mental illness stigma is that it’s complicated.
Recently, someone boldly announced that therapy was senseless in that it was simply a time where the patient got to talk about themselves for an hour. They went on to imply that this was a selfish act by saying things like, "If you're a person that needs to pay someone to listen to you talk about yourself for an hour... *shrugs* that just seems weird and unnecessary." I didn't know what to say...so I didn't say anything, and then I felt even worse.
Most people should be aware by now that mental illness is becoming popular amongst society. This is a shame. More people are having a battle within their own minds and cannot find a way to help themselves out. I blame this on the fact that most people do not know how to help themselves because in the human race we are trained to defend ourselves against physical harm instead of mental harm.
A few months ago, I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2. I've always known something was up, and I've battled with depression my whole life, but there was some sort of weight lifted off of my shoulders when I got an actual diagnosis. It made my mental illness feel valid—a feeling that I should not be having . Your mental illness is always valid, and you don't need a doctor to tell you that. But due to the stigma that surrounds mental health in today's society, a lot of people have very close-minded views on illnesses that we can't actually see. Here are five things I've learned about mental health throughout my own struggles with it.
As we grow as a society and uncover more truths, mental illnesses start to show themselves more and more. Not because it is more common, but because more people are talking about the problems they are having instead of trying to hide it all the time. This doesn’t mean that people don’t hide their illness, but they are actively seeking help. Stigma is still an issue that is attached to mental illnesses and those that suffer from them. As someone who suffers from severe treatment-resistant depression, I see and hear those stigmas all the time, and a lot comes from people being uneducated about mental health and mental illnesses. Here are five common myths about mental illnesses.
Though novelists and screenwriters have undeniably made great leaps in their understanding of mental health since the Bronte sisters' depictions of undefined "madness" back in the Victorian era, plenty of progress is yet to be made. Writers still fall back on stereotypes in droves, or else completely neglect to acknowledge that they are writing about an illness. Even when this is not the case, management and recovery of mental health issues are rarely explored. This reflects directly on people with mental illnesses, and it does not help them.