With the recent uprising and openness about mental health, there has been negative stigma surrounding it. We see it in movies, conversations and within general society. Mental illness is portrayed as being some sort of dark energy that clings to people. “Fake, edgy and ignorant” are just a few terms that are thrown at people that speak out about their mental health. The counterpart claims those who openly discuss depression and/or anxiety actually don’t even suffer from the disorder.
The openness about mental health has no doubt made those who do not suffer from it feel uncomfortable. The counterpart wholeheartedly claims those who express their mental health out loud are seeking attention.
When my mother died, following my grandparents, father and brother, I tried so hard to hide that I was alone – I hid, knowingly, I was suffering from some sort of extreme anxiety and depression. I never grieved. I kept going, ignoring that my entire immediate family was dead. It wasn’t until coworkers and friends suggested I get help.
“Help” entailed paying over $350 (no insurance) per visit to a doctor – that, maybe, after several visits they could professionally diagnose you. Without insurance, trying to get some sort of professional help without insurance is insanely expensive, impossible for most college students.
People always feel the need to comment on an individual’s diagnosis when they bring up their disorder. Is it because they are not “professionally” diagnosed? Are they going to start questioning those that have itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing whom say they have allergies yet have never been “professionally” diagnosed by an allergist? What makes people who can not afford help, invalid?
Treatment cost for mental illness turns people away from help. The National Institute of Mental Health estimated that around 50% of individuals with psychiatric disorders are receiving no treatment.
On top of that, the people that can afford help may have bad reactions to psychosis-based drugs and treatment. It is constantly trial and error and can take up to a year to finally adjust correctly to the doses. Everyone has different reactions to the medicine and I know several friends who it has helped and many who it has not.
Speaking out about mental health is still considered taboo around the world.
Society has made it difficult for people to be open about mental health. Suffers are afraid that they will be demoted in their jobs, being labeled as ‘’mental”.
Words cannot express how important it is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. No one is wanting to open up and discuss this issue which leads to untreated mental illness. Almost 90% of suicides are linked directly to untreated mental illness.
For now, I, and many other sufferers of anxiety/depression, take it one day at a time and are open about it. We are not invalid or ‘faking’ it to be ‘edgy’.
Before you roll your eyes and question someone who claims to have a mental disorder – take a step back and assess the situation. It doesn’t matter the severity of their trauma, or their situation. Either with a professional diagnosis or a self-diagnosis they are valid and quite frankly, it is none of your business.