will she EVER shut up about being depressed? If she’s that depressed, she needs
to get help. No one else wants to hear about her problems. She obviously just
wants attention.” Ever heard those words? Yeah, me too. These things are said
daily. If your life is too sad, you’re being dramatic. If it’s too happy, you’re
definitely hiding something. We forget that people suffering with mental
illnesses are human too, someone with thoughts and feelings. Some people have
the mindset that “If you don’t fit my worldview, you’re worthless.”

I’m going to be talking about the judgment against mental illnesses. Firstly,
how it affects people, secondly, different stigmas against them, and lastly,
the difficulties of having a mental illness.

media is one thing. Society is another. In my years as someone who is
depressed, I see it in people’s eyes when I talk about my feelings. Did I share
too much? Did I not act normally enough? Whispers about the scars on my body.
“She’s looking for attention. God, I hate attention-whores. Is she psychotic or
something? This has to be for attention. No normal person would do this.”

No. Definitely
not normal. Attention-whoring. These are things people who are mentally ill
hear every single day, from people who simply don’t want to understand what
they’re going through. No, it’s all in your head. If you would just be happier
— but oh, not too happy, that’s lying. If you would just try harder — but no,
not too hard, because then you’re faking. If you’d just act NORMAL, God, why is
it so hard for you to act normal?

illness isn’t something that’s controlled. It’s one of the most uncontrollable
diseases there is. Sure, you can take medication, or go to talk therapy, learn
the signals of depression or anxiety. One day, you can be invisible in a crowd,
school days without anyone knowing how hard it is for you, without the curious
and judgmental stares. And then something slips. You say the wrong words. You
have a breakdown. Just like that, right back to the beginning. Its all for
attention isn’t it? Why else would you be doing this?

Maybe it
is for attention. But maybe not the type of attention you think. A cry for
help. For someone to understand. If only you could understand how difficult it
is being mentally ill. Maybe we just need someone to talk to because we’re in a
very negative mind set. Maybe we’re crying because things are overwhelming. The
thoughts we’re having, something someone said, or just being tired. Tired of
everything. Tired of being ill. Tired of not being considered normal.

against mental illnesses is real. Not getting the job because the manager found
out you’re depressed. Being fired for not being the most cheerful and happiest
all the time at work. Missing too much school for appointments and breakdowns,
trying so hard to control the monsters that live inside your head. Losing
friends or respect from people because you’re too much of a handful.  

And the
everyday stigma of knowing the world thinks you’re faking, that it’s all in
your head, that it’s just for attention, causes many people with mental illness
to never access help. They live their entire lives thinking they’re the
problem, until something happens and they can’t take it anymore.

illness may be “all in your head,” but that doesn’t make it less real than
having cancer or diabetes. In the end, no one knows why someone acts the way
they do. We can’t read each other’s minds. Even if you say, “But I know someone
who really does do it for attention!” do you actually know that’s why he’s
doing it? Can you actually read his mind and trace his thought process? Or are
you assuming, casting your own opinion and annoyances on someone reaching out
for help?

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I'm Colleen!

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