The Reality of Mental Illness

Let me ask you this: let’s say you fell, hurt your arm and it hurt really badly, wouldn’t you go to the doctor to get it checked and treated like you would for any other physical illness? No one would judge you right? Well, I can tell you from experience that getting treated for mental illness is very different.

Before going into my story, I’d like to clarify a few things. People need to understand that depression is not just sadness and there is so much more to it. It’s honestly really hard to explain because there are so many complex emotions involved, and it’s extremely draining to have to deal with to say the least. It’s a feeling of loneliness, emptiness, hopelessness and for some even, suicidal thoughts.

Anxiety disorders are not just feeling stressed out, at least for me. It’s being on edge 24/7, planning what you’re going to say before actually saying it, having anxiety attacks out of nowhere, having racing thoughts and not being able to control them, feeling like the world is about to end, shaking, not being able to breathe and much, much more.

Now, you may be wondering why i’m only talking about anxiety and depression, because there are many more mental illnesses that people suffer from. That is because I have personal experience with it, and I really want everyone to understand what it’s like to have these mental illnesses. I want the stigma and misinterpretation to end, and most importantly for people to understand the severity of it. It’s deadly and dangerous. Let’s look over some statistics, and for the people who don’t think that it’s serious, I hope that this will help you understand the severity of it. Around 800,000 people die due to suicide each year, which means that one person dies due to suicide every 40 seconds. 800,000. Let that sink in.

I’ve always had a hard time talking about my feelings and showing emotion. It’s mainly because I feel like I’ll get judged and people will think that I’m doing it for attention, when the truth is that I’m not okay and I genuinely can’t beat this battle on my own; nobody can do it on their own. I’ve opened up about my struggles to a few people, and I’ve gotten judged, ignored and people have even left me. I’m not saying this because I want people to pity me, or I want attention. I’m saying this because in order for people to get better, they need to have good support systems around them, and people who will be there and LISTEN. And to be completely honest, I was right about not wanting to open up. I’ve never felt more judged and more like a disappointment when I finally reached out for help. I felt so lonely and helpless.

There are clearly not enough resources here, and it is always a topic that’s avoided. This needs to change. We need to talk about it more, we need to keep spreading awareness, we need to keep encouraging people to seek help, and we cannot stop fighting until we have enough resources to save lives. We’re seen as crazy people, and some even tell us to ignore these things and just go out, live life. We don’t even have the motivation to get out of bed, and having people criticise us every day certainly does not help. Even the medical professionals here have made me feel so uncomfortable for having these issues. Aren’t they supposed to treat me like any other patient?

The reason why I decided to share some of my experiences is because I want people to know that it’s not just all talk. This judgement actually happens and I’ve even been threatened for talking about my feelings. I don’t want a single person to go through this because no one deserves to be treated this way. I’m sorry if you have, I really am. I wish I could help everyone out and take all of your pain, but sadly it doesn’t work like that.

I’m here to tell you that suppressing your emotions and ignoring all of these things does not make things better. It made things even worse for me, and I did something horrible. I don’t want to go into any detail on that, but It’s proof that if you don’t face these issues and get proper help, you will not get better. It’s sad, but true.

Please be there for your friends and family. I can’t stress this enough, but it could save a life. Please listen to them and take them seriously when they tell you that they’re struggling. Help them, check in on them and support them constantly because this battle is no joke. So many people post “mental health matters” pictures on their instagram stories, but I can bet that very few of them actually take it seriously, and make jokes about it. I know this is true because I’ve seen it happen so many times. Don’t be like these people and practice what you preach. It’s not a trend and it’s something very dark. Please, go and hug someone you love right now, and let them know that you love and appreciate them; they might need it. Imagine the amount of pain these people went/go through. Imagine feeling like the only way you could escape the pain is by ending your life. Imagine losing a friend or family member to suicide.

Mental illnesses like: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, are literal chemical imbalances in the brain, so how come we’re told that we’re behaving a certain way for attention and that we are doing this to ourselves? You would not tell someone with a broken arm that they’re faking it, and it’s the exact same for mental illness. On the contrary, we try hiding it because we’re scared of getting judged and being seen differently. It’s something that we cannot control and that needs to be treated.

I’m sorry to say that there’s no happy ending for me in sight right now. The truth is, my battle isn’t over yet. I’m not sure of anything. But, I know that there are other people who are going through something similar, and that I’m not alone. Be kind. Always. You never know what someone is going through. I hope you learnt something from this, and I wish you all the very best. If you need someone to talk to, my instagram dm’s are always open: @lea.chahinee

Don’t even hesitate to reach out, and remember that you cannot get better without getting help. I know it’s hard, trust me, but I believe in you and I know that you’re strong and overcome this.

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