THE COLD, HARD TRUTH
Interested in a "Crash Course" lesson in the basic mental health disorders? Check out the videos to the left on: OCD and Anxiety Disorders, Depressive and Bipolar Disorders, Schizophrenia and Dissociative Disorders, Eating and Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and Personality Disorders.
Let's be honest, life isn't easy for anyone. It's an upward battle filled with twists and turns. For people with a mental illness, life is even harder.
Mental Illness is a sickness that affects your brain instead of your body. Something is going on with the neurons in your brain-maybe they aren't firing enough or maybe they are firing too much. There are actual neurological differences in the brains of people with mental illnesses and people without them.
Who would think that something as simple as your brain producing too little serotonin could have such a big effect? It's a proven fact that producing too little serotonin can cause a chemical imbalance in your brain which can lead to depression.
Having a mental illness is something that you have to deal with every minute of every day. You must learn how to cope and manage it on an individual basis. For some, counseling or medication works. For others, they must find another way to relax their anxieties such a exercising.
That being said, it's important to remember that a mental illness doesn't define a person. As a society, we need to stop labeling people with a mental illness. Someone isn't insane because they have schizophrenia or crazy because they are bipolar. Sometimes we can feel like our life is in a thousand different pieces. The truth is, we are the sum of a thousand different pieces. No one thing can define us.
We all get sad sometimes, but we aren't all suffering from depression. Hormonal mood swings can be normal, but it doesn't mean we have Bipolar Disorder. We may feel nervous before a test or important meeting, but we don't have an anxiety disorder.
There is a difference.
Sometimes it can be hard to talk to a friend with a mental illness. You might worry that you're going to say the wrong thing, but the only wrong thing you can say is to say nothing at all. We, as human beings, always need affirmation. We need to know that there are people who love us, care about us, and support us. We need people to encourage us to get help.
We have to stop romanticizing mental illness. It's not a beautiful thing, and it never will be. It's not something you would ever wish upon another person. It's something that is always with you, that never really goes away. You must instead, find ways to deal with it; you must find ways to survive.
THE BIGGEST TRUTH
OCD isn't just a cute personality quirk you can turn off when you go to sleep each night. Anxiety isn't something you can just stop, even when you know your fears are irrational. The anorexic girl who looks in the mirror never feels thin enough. Starving yourself isn't pretty. Throwing up isn't pretty. Pain isn't pretty.
So why do we keep acting like it is?