The negative stigma of mental illness is not beneficial

The negative stigma of mental illness is not beneficial

It’s been a long week. Not as in busy, but as in depressing.

When I say depressed, I don’t mean sad because my imaginary boyfriend broke up with me, but true depression and anxiety. I attended one class this entire week, left work early every shift in tears and mundane things such as taking a shower and getting out of bed became mini victories.

The week prior, the Energizer Bunny didn’t have anything on me. I was more productive than I’ve been since I’ve gotten to college, was at the gym almost every day, and my creativity was at an all-time high. The sudden crash that happened that has been repeated all of my life was diagnosed as bipolar disorder this week, sending me further into depression.

As I slowly recollect myself, I think about why it’s taken 21 years to be diagnosed and I realized that it was because I never spoke up and kept all of my crying spells, anger outbursts and nervous breakdowns behind closed doors. I also simply apologized for whatever reckless behavior I exhibited in my manic state even though I had no real idea what I was doing.

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What disturbs me is the fact that a significant portion of my classmates are going through the exact same thing. I’m here to tell you that you’re killing yourself by taking the approach I did.

It would behoove you all to be mindful of your mental state. I know there’s a stigma against mental illnesses, but screw that; you need to take care of yourself. Go to Student Health to speak with a psychiatrist or the Counseling Center. You’re already paying for it with your tuition.

Do not let your mental issues fester and manifest into self-destruction. Do not let others make you believe that “it’s just in your head.” Do not isolate yourself from everyone; as much as you want to be by yourself, the last thing you need is to be alone. Do not wait until you throw all of your medications on the top shelf of your closet out of reach because you’re scared that you’ll take them all like I did.

Don’t be as afraid of medications as many people are. Granted, there are side effects, but if your issues are intense enough, medication may help. There’s an actual chemical imbalance in your head, and talk therapy alone may not cut it.

As appealing as that bottle of Vodka is to self-medicate, don’t touch it. It will exacerbate your symptoms. Don’t even tempt yourself to drink yourself into a stupor that feels good in the moment but can make your situation so much worse.

Whether it’s a mood disorder, anxiety disorder or a situational mental issue, recognize it and take care of yourself. I hate to say it – there will be people who won’t believe you, but it doesn’t matter. What you have is a legitimate debilitating issue; disabilities like mental disorders are invisible, but they’re still there.

To those who don’t believe in mental issues, cut it out. There’s a reason that doctors have defined these issues as debilitating to begin with. There’s a reason that you see these disorders in psychology textbooks.

Be mindful that people are really suffering, and your disbelief isn’t helping anything. Telling someone to just be happy, or calling them lazy for not being to get out of bed, or telling someone that there are people with much worse issues isn’t helping anything.

Please watch what you say and how you speak to people with mental issues. These problems can be deadly.

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