Breaking The Stigma Around Mental Illness

Breaking the stigma.
Breaking the stigma.
Courtesy of Xeniaadont

Being okay is a great thing, and not being okay is also a good thing. The situation only ever worsens when you fail to admit it. Or even worse when the society you live in forbids you from being true to yourself.  By, “okay”, I am not just referring to the physical state of your body but also your mental state.

It amazes me how some illnesses are taken more seriously than others. What stuns me even more is that some are even categorized as “crazy” while others are not. Why are some parts of the body taken more seriously than others? The brain itself is an overappreciated organ until the question of disease hits it. Why are individuals suffering from mental diseases dehumanized in our life and culture? It is time we recognize that mental illnesses have the ability and power to torment an individual’s brain and deconstruct their life.

Mental illnesses originate from a wide spectrum; Depression, Anorexia, Bipolarism, Anxiety, Narcissism, the list goes on. No matter what illness you may be diagnosed with, all must be taken seriously. Not a single illness is less critical than another, they are all life threatening. According to the WHO approximately 14.3% annual deaths internationally are due to mental illness while, in contrast raised blood pressure contributes to roughly 13.5%. which is 0.8% less. Yet, regardless of these statistics, the stigma lives on.

 

Breaking the stigma.

 

There is no specific causation to mental illnesses, every being has a unique mind and soul. However, there are certain factors that may increase an individual’s risk of being diagnosed with one. Chemical imbalances and genetics are at the forefront of them. But loss, stressful situations and even chronic illnesses can equally contribute to being mentally ill. The point is, being diagnosed with a mental illness is never in the hands of the patient at hand. A human being does not have the choice to torment their own mind just for pleasure. So, why are mental illnesses labelled and associated with the phrases like “crazy” and “delusional” when these labels actually need to be justified by voluntary actions.

Unfortunately, the stigma declaring mental illnesses as crazy has been rooted in our society. With the strong belief in this stereotype, the plague colonizing our world is overlooked. We’ve been gaslit to believe that being diagnosed with a mental illness permanently damages our reputation and puts us in ruins. As an international community, we tend to ignore the power these illnesses have by ignoring them as whole. By categorizing mental disorders as “crazy” we are not treating them but simply ignoring them hoping that they disappear on their own.

 

Breaking the stigma.
Courtesy of Julieta Padrós

The belief itself puts us in ruins. Ignoring a mental illness is like ignoring an epidemic. If it is not put at halt and tackled seriously, innocent lives are put at risk. Why are heart attacks put under a microscope from the very beginning but, depression is believed to fix itself no matter the complications it holds? Reputation and dignity are important, especially in the middle east. But this year was enough proof to convince us that health always takes precedence, no matter what part of the body is disoriented. When health is included, the rules of the game are immediately altered.

The dynamic we convince ourselves of puts our own lives in danger. Being scared to ask for help exacerbates the situation. No one should ever be embarrassed to ask for help, especially when it involves an issue that they didn’t lead themselves into. If you ever are even suspicious of suffering from a mental disease, do not hesitate to ask for help. As a community, we are manipulated to believe that mental illnesses eat up our reputations. But is it worth allowing our reputation to eat us up instead?