Today is world mental health day… a day to stop, pay attention and to listen really closely, because the voices are quiet, but they need our help.
Those who live with mental illness are often very clever at hiding; the disease can be almost invisible to everyone around them. How do we fight something that we cannot see?
1 in 4 people live with mental illness… 1 in 4
This year alone my friends, family and I have lost two great people to mental illness, but no one would have believed it of them. Both people could be described as the happiest, most outgoing people. They both had a laugh that infected the room, and a personality that no one could forget. They drew people to them from all over, creating instant and everlasting bonds. They will never be forgotten.
Despite their network of supporters they suffered in silence. I don’t know why they felt they needed to, but I can imagine it’s a lie told by the disease. They struggled with their feelings of depression, loneliness and despair alone and they felt they had no other way out.
Depression is one of the most prevalent, but it isn’t the only mental illness that needs attention and education.
I know close friends who live daily with anxiety. I myself have felt the weight of it bear down on my chest. Anxiety is often disregarded as it doesn’t come off as serious, and is often met with simple platitudes like “don’t stress it”, “don’t worry”… “It’s not that big of a deal”.
Has being told to “not worry” ever made you stop worrying?
Has being told to “get over it” ever made you stop and realize that your feelings are silly and then you just get over it!
No, I bet not. It’s doesn’t work on regular everyday stress so why would it work on someone with a chemical imbalance, an actual illness. A reaction in their body that is raising heart rates, cutting off air to the lungs and seizing control of the body.
I know you might not understand, but maybe try?
Mental illness is not just one type of illness. There are approximately 297 unique disorders listed in the DSM-5 (the manual on mental illness).
So please respect each other’s struggles. Do not dismiss someone’s feelings. They might be doing it for attention, but because that is what they need and they deserve to be paid attention to! They are not being dramatic. They are not crazy. They are ill.
You wouldn’t tell someone to just get over a broken arm, you cannot tell someone to get over a mental illness.
For more information and to show your support check out these links
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