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Mental Health Isn’t An “Excuse”

When my friend told me that she had gotten in trouble with her roommates because they told her that she couldn’t keep ‘using her mental health problems as an excuse’ because ‘everybody has problems’ I saw red.

It was baffling that in this day and age, where mental illness is more present and there is more awareness of it than ever, that she was told to just ‘deal with it’. I thought that my generation would have realized that mental health is much more than just feeling sad, but apparently some people don’t fully realize the affects and toll it could take on a person. It’s difficult to function when one’s mind wants to shut down and everyone else around them is telling them to keep going. It isn’t like a race to the finish line, it’s a cruel vicious obstacle course that doesn’t seem and staying in one place seems more appealing than finding a way out.

Something a person dealing with mental health instability doesn’t want to hear is to ‘just deal with it’ because they know. They know their emotions and feelings are complicated and they are trying to figure everything out but it’s just difficult. They didn’t ask to be that way and making them feel like a nuisance isn’t going to help their growth. In fact it will make them feel smaller and they’ll shrink into their problems. So telling them that they need to stop making excuses, when in fact their mind is physically stopping them from being able to get tasks done, is maliciously cruel.

Of course it can get frustrating after a while seeing the same person discussing similar problems that are taking a detrimental toll on them, but you wouldn’t tell a person with a broken arm to stop complaining about their pain right? Just because the pain isn’t present for eyes to see doesn’t make it any less real. Someone hurting from the inside doesn’t make their pain any less valuable or important as someone whose pain is seeable. There are different levels of hurt and pain a person can feel that can appear in all types of shapes and sizes that needs to be acknowledged and not shrugged aside.

It personally makes me uncomfortable that there are still people that turn a blind eyes when it comes to mental health issues and don’t fully accept its effects. It’s an internal battle that takes place in one’s head, and how are you supposed to win a war with yourself? It’s a real problem that can stop one from getting out of bed. It can strip them of any motivation to do anything and saying that they should just find the willpower to get over it is like telling a blind person to just see. It’s not one uses as an excuse to get out of doing tasks, it’s a problem deeply rooted into their brain that needs not to be shrugged off and overlooked.

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Sahar Swaleh

San Francisco

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