Learning to be open about mental illness

Mental illnesses are frightening, but they shouldn’t be. Maybe they aren’t to you, but for some people mental illnesses are scary. They can be humiliating, debilitating and embarrassing.

But now, it’s time to start a conversation and end the stigmas surrounding mental illnesses and therapy, and just get help when you need it.

Our world can seem so perfect. Most advertisements we see are Photoshopped and edited to look flawless. Instagram models rule social media and a girl will go from the beautiful young woman her mother told her she was to a mess of emotions and insecurities.

Now, some girls aren’t like this. Some are strong and stand tall in the face of carefully crafted perfection, but for the rest of us, seeing the best of certain people makes us see the worst in ourselves. Exposure to media at a young age has proved to form a direct link to how women view themselves later in life.

If you consumed a lot of media, like television and ads, when you were young, you’re more likely to develop habits that resemble eating disorders. Striving to be thin has become a part of the female package, and trying to meet beauty standards is part of our everyday lives, although it shouldn’t be that way.

A lot of people, not only women, devote a lot of time and energy into being someone else or something better. There’s huge pressure on students in particular to get the best grades, get into the best jobs or graduate schools on time, and before you know it, you become a huge snowball of anxiety. It seems like nothing is simple anymore, every choice you make has a direct impact on your future and for some people, that pressure can be crushing. So crushing that getting out of bed every morning seems impossible.

Mental illnesses are unique, no two people will experience them in the exact same way. Everyone is fighting their own battles.

UNT offers its students free counseling services. They’re paid for by our tuition, but so many people don’t know it’s available to them. It doesn’t have to be some earth-shattering, heartbreaking experience that leaves you broken or lost. Life is difficult, so having someone professional to talk to is an invaluable asset regardless.

Best friends are great but they’re just like us at the end of the day. We’re all a little broken, lost and trying our best daily to be a bit better than we were the previous day. What we all need is a conversation, an opportunity to be honest with people and for the people we run towards to fill us with good graces.

In fact, a study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that one in every five American adults will experience mental illness to some degree in any given year. It’s like any other sickness, there are times before and times after. It can always get better, but if everyone around you is scared to talk about it, nothing will ever get better. Pretending something doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away.

What you should take away from this is that you’re not alone. Everyone around you has something in their past or in their future that they’re terrified of. Everyone has a thought that whenever it crosses their mind, it breaks their heart. Sometimes those feelings get so big we can’t control them and that doesn’t make us weak or unworthy. It makes us human.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

One thought on “Learning to be open about mental illness

  • March 21, 2017 at 10:44 am
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    This is an incredible and inspiring article. I believe it is truly important that people learn more about mental illness and those around them.

    Reply

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