Tip #6: Mental Illness is Nothing To Be Ashamed of

Hi Friends!Image result for mental illness

Today I thought I would talk about a difficult, but important topic. Unfortunately, most people our age have been affected by a mental illness, whether you yourself have one, or someone you know has one. Or maybe you have never had any experience with a mental illness, which I applaud you for because that is hard to come by. Although not everyone is vocal about it, most likely your peers have all encountered mental illnesses in one form or another.

In middle school, it was something no one dared to mention. Had someone been brave enough to admit they see a therapist, they would be labelled as the “unstable” child that you should avoid. Yeah, it’s a rough world out there. Image result for mental illness stigmaBut coming from a small town of 4,000 people, you cannot speak of your weakness or the whole town will know by tomorrow. Maybe even your friends mom’s will tell you to have playdates with someone else. After all, they can’t have their child growing up with “bad influences” around them.Image result for mental illness stigma

It didn’t get much better in high school, although they did designate some safe spaces for those that struggled in school due to their mental illness. One of the rooms was called “Lighthouse,” as if they’re saving you from being lost at sea? This room was VIP access only, because those “others” with mental illnesses had to be separated from the common population. But because most people covered up what was really going on in their lives, most were left to fend for themselves. If you dared to admit you had a mental illness you would be labelled as that “girl with problems.”

Have you ever seen the show on MTV, If You Really Knew Me? If you haven’t watch this trailer:

 

This is what my high school decided to do when I was a freshman to try to address the problem. They had to stop the program a year later because it ended up just feeding more juicy gossip that everyone could spread around the school.

What I’m trying to say is that it can be really rough in your teen years if you are someone that battles with a mental illness. Although you may not know it, but probably a handful of the people that sit next to you in class are dealing with a common disorder, such as anxiety or depression. The important thing to remember is IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. While society and your teen years may try to tell you that you are a rare species that needs to be kept away from everyone else because you are “different,” just give them the middle finger.

The stigma on mental illness in our society is ridiculous. I have seen more acceptance coming to college, but the stigma still exists. If you are someone struggling, know that you are not alone. You are not crazy. You are not any less than the person who has never confronted mental illness. You are not a bad person. You are not rare.

There are a million great resources out there, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they have great resources about finding treatment or crisis Helplines.

Here are the facts according to NAMI:

https://www.easel.ly/index/embedFrame/easel/5312452

Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. It’s best to reach out for support rather than suffer in silence. As tough as life may get and as low as you may feel, it really does get better. Give it time. Surround yourself with people that make you happy. Don’t let stupid people affect you from living your life.

The hard times will pass, I promise.

xx Cat

P.S. if you are in the DC area this summer, you should come to the Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It’s an overnight walk to help fight the stigma on mental health and put a stop to the many lives that are lost everyday.

Image result for out of the darkness walk

 

4 thoughts on “Tip #6: Mental Illness is Nothing To Be Ashamed of

  1. Hi Cat, I think it was great that you wrote about the stigma surrounding mental illness. There are so many people around us who struggle but cover it up because they are afraid of being labeled. If more people understood that it is ok to ask for help and that it isn’t their fault, we could save lives. If we engaged in more dialogue with people who have mental illnesses we could potentially be better allies to them instead of just under the guise of a “safe space” alienating anyone who is struggling. Separation is not the key to helping anyone in need.

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  2. Hi Cat! I really loved how authentic your blog is; it’s very refreshing to read! I also liked your integration of pictures into the text. The little details, like wrapping the text, really helped the blog flow together. Lastly, thank you so much for speaking out on this important topic. Your affirmations and positivity are appreciated by many, I’m sure. Also, that event sounds great! I will definitely be attending, if my schedule allows.

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  3. Hi Cat! Thank you so much for writing this. I really appreciate this, especially as someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression in the past. I also grew up in a small town, so I laughed when you wrote this line (could not be more true): “But coming from a small town of 4,000 people, you cannot speak of your weakness or the whole town will know by tomorrow.” When I was in middle school, I had to take a leave of absence due to my eating disorder but I was afraid of the stigma from my peers, so I told everyone I had mono instead. Thankfully, I am more comfortable talking about my issues with eating disorders/mental illness now that I’m in college, but I still notice a stigma.

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  4. I really like how straightforward and easy to read your blog/posts are; it really helps as a reader to be able to follow along. As for this post, I think you touched upon a very important topic. I would agree with your observations about the stigmas surrounding mental illness in middle/high school vs. college, but as you so eloquently put here, even in a place like a university that is more welcoming to people suffering from mental illness, it still can be a very hard thing to talk about–which is why posts like this are so important for adding to the conversation and ensuring people who are suffering that their feelings are real, valid, and not something that makes them “abnormal.”

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