Starting a Conversation- The Stigma of Mental Illness

Hello, everyone. Today I have a very special post to share with you. This is something that has been close to my heart for my entire life but is rarely shared. I decided to take my own challenge to start a conversation that matters. So let’s get into it.

In today’s society, we talk about everything from test taking tips to tips on having the best sex of your life. We are constantly bombarded with tips of how to better almost every aspect of our life from test scores to sex lives without every bringing up a topic that links every aspect of our life together: mental health.

1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental illness (source). That means, in a typical American family, at least one of you has a mental illness. How can no one talk about it?

In my life both of my parents suffer from mental illnesses. My mother suffered from schizophrenia and dissociative personality disorder. This was incredibly challenging for me growing up because no one ever talked to me about what was going on. No one told me that she had an illness. No one told me that what she was doing was out of her control. I truly wonder how much easier it would have been to deal with if I had understood anything about what she was going through.

On the other hand, my father was diagnosed with both anxiety and depression. These are significantly more common in our country than the severe mental illnesses that my mother was diagnosed with but are equally as ignored. I was never taught what it was like to watch someone have a panic attack. I was never told how much pain he deals with on a daily basis. I was never told that it didn’t define who he was or what he was capable of doing.

The American school system already heavily lacks thorough education on physical health but never even addresses the importance of mental health. Unless you willingly sign up for a psychology class, it is likely that you will never learn anything about mental illness than what you see in movies or on Tumblr. Maybe this is why people aren’t willing to talk about mental illness.

So today, I want to talk about it.

Mental illnesses are real illnesses. The infest the mind and cause discomfort and frustration just like any flu or cold normally would. They can sometimes be cured through medication and doctors help (therapy) just like a cold or flu. They are common, just like a cold or flu.

Mental illnesses do not define the person that has it. You would never introduce someone like this:

“This is Daniel, he has the flu” so why would you talk about someone as “being bipolar”. We need to start learning that mental illnesses are real, important and harmful. They are not a quality of a person.

Educate yourself on what mental illnesses are and how they impact people around you. Be there for those around you who suffer from mental illnesses. Don’t isolate anyone. If you can’t help them, do your best to find someone who can.

Let’s end the stigma behind mental illness.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Share your story in the comments below or with me on social media. Please know that I am always here for each and every one of you.

Lots of love,

Ellie

Instagram: elllie.belllie

Twitter: elliescrazylife

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Email: thecrazylifeofellie@gmail.com

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