Stigma: The biggest reason why many people don’t get help is stigma. It’s a huge problem, and it needs to be stopped. People with mental health conditions are not their conditions! They are people who live in the same world as you and me, and they deserve to be treated like human beings. They did nothing wrong to deserve having a mental illness. You just can’t judge someone based on what they have inside their brain! Imagine if you had cancer or diabetes- would we treat you any differently? Of course not! We wouldn’t judge you for that either, so why do it with mental illnesses? Mental illnesses are just as serious as physical ones if not more so because of how complex the mind is compared to the body! Stigma leads many people down a path of self-harming behaviors because of how others treat them. The best way to improve your health is to get the help that you need, and it won’t happen if people are treating you differently due to your mental health.
Myth: Depression is just sadness. Depression is so much more than sadness! It’s a disease! I definitely think feeling sad or upset about things happens sometimes in depression, but it’s so much more than that. So much more goes into how someone feels- sure, there might be some sadness in there, but it can also be anxiety which causes extreme fear of anything and everything (not all anxiety feels like this though!), paranoia to the point where the person believes everyone is out to get them (this doesn’t apply if they’re schizophrenic), lack of sleep/insomnia due to thoughts overwhelming them at night (also not an issue with schizophrenia), loss of interest in life activities they used to love doing because the world seems like a dark place to them (such as reading or watching movies), loss of energy/motivation for things they once loved doing because they don’t feel like doing anything anymore…and those are just a few examples. Just because depression isn’t in the same form as sadness doesn’t mean it’s not real. If you called diabetes a disease, would you call it an illness? Just because something is in your body does not mean it’s not a disease. Depression is so much more than just sadness!
Myth: Depression can be cured by positive thinking/The Law of Attraction. Not really sure where this one came from, but I hear it quite often. It’s true that positive thinking can change your outlook on life (I’ve done this myself), but depression is still there lurking under the surface. The most common example people use for this myth is “If you think positively about everything and believe everything will go your way, then it will happen.” That might be true if we lived in a perfect world (which we don’t), but even when things are going perfectly for someone with depression they still feel like crap! This myth completely ignores the fact that some people have chronic or severe depression where they need to take medication to get better- which should never be looked down upon! The only thing positive thinking/the law of attraction can do for them is help them cope until their medicine kicks in and gets rid of their symptoms…but once again, these myths ignore the fact that some people have severe or chronic mental illnesses where they may need medication to function normally without feeling awful every day.
Myth: People can’t be depressed in today’s society because they have “it all”. This is the most ignorant myth of all. You don’t need to have a perfect, luxurious life to be depressed- it just doesn’t work that way. Depression doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, fat or thin, attractive or not, etc. Many people with depression are actually in good relationships with their significant others and/or families. I also want to add that I really dislike when people say someone isn’t allowed to feel sad about something if they have a nice life- does everyone else get the privilege of feeling bad about certain things while this person gets told off for feeling bad? No! No one has the right to tell anyone how they should feel about anything! If someone feels down even though their life is good then that’s fine- maybe there are other issues going on behind closed doors that no one knows about.
Myths: People suffering from mental illnesses are crazy/dumb/an idiot/etc… It makes me cringe every time I hear someone say this because it’s so offensive! First of all, these people did nothing wrong to deserve having a mental illness! Their brains malfunctioned somehow and caused them distress so please don’t insult them by calling them crazy! Also many people suffering from mental illnesses are very smart and intelligent…but guess what? Not everyone who is intelligent has a high IQ score.
– Raise awareness and talk about mental health. We need to normalize talking about it and we need to end the stigma!
– If you’re suffering from a mental illness, please reach out for help! Don’t be afraid to seek help. It’s okay to not feel okay…that’s why there is professional help in the first place. Your friends and family love you, I promise! If they don’t, then those people aren’t your friends or family anymore because they wouldn’t treat their loved ones like that just because they were having a bad day/week/month/year/life with mental illnesses.