This originally went live on March 17, 2019. I’m happy to see it here too. Not a bad thing for this to make a reappearance.
So, I might be short and to the point here. Mostly because I know I’m going to get a pretty big workout in the comments. My opinion has also been stated here a few times, but I felt like bringing up the topic once more.
One of the most interesting things that I’ve noticed over the last year is that there is a lot of shame attached to mental illness. Some by the sufferer and others by those who think they are helping. I’ve always wondered why this is, but it feels more or more like the stigmas are built into society. Don’t let them know you see a therapist. Why? Because you’ll never get a job, get married, have kids, or be able to do anything. Never reveal that you’re on medications. Why? Because you’ll never get a job, get married, have kids, or be able to anything. It’s like people with mental illness are being asked to ‘not be who they are’, which makes the problem infinitely worse. Imagine struggling with anxiety and then being told that your anxiety will cause all these problems, so you need to hide it. Now, you’re anxious about revealing that you’re anxious. It’s just emotionally and mentally destructive.
Now, I mentioned therapy and medication in there too. The strangest thing is that these are actions that show an intent to get a handle on one’s illness. Yet, we use them as marks of shame. People who go in for chemo or have to use an inhaler for asthma aren’t treated like this. The reason might be because those are physical diseases, which are easier to wrap our heads around than mental. I wonder if there’s a fear when it comes to mental illness too. A person might push for someone to get better quickly because then it means it isn’t that big a deal if they themselves have one. There’s no infection when it comes to these things, but helping a person with severe mental illness can trigger ones in the helper if they are stressed too much. If you can convince a person to get over their depression then maybe you can do it too in the future. This is ridiculous, of course.
Honestly, I’m just throwing ideas out there because I really can’t see the point in stigmatizing mental illness. Especially these days when you have the Internet and more connections than ever. It’s easier to trigger a breakdown because of some jackass online or to indulge in certain harmful activities. If anything, society should be pushing for these issues to be brought to the light and teach more people about them. Maybe have a time in high school where students learn about things like depression, anxiety, etc. and get to share their thoughts. Make it a discussion class and try to eliminate the stigma with the younger generations. Just a thought, which has some downsides because you don’t want to upset anyone who is currently suffering.
Anyway, what do you think about the mental illness stigma?