May Mental Health Awareness Month

It is officially that time of the year where we honor those who suffer, dealt with or have passed away due to mental illness. Many people around the world suffer from some sort of mental illness and are a prisoner to their minds on a daily basis. A lot of people tend to forget these people have feelings and tend to use words or phrases that can actually be very hurtful so always watch what you say. Some examples include:

 

“I swear this weather is so bipolar.”

Many people suffer from Bipolar  Disorder and, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 5.7 million adult Americans ages 18 and older suffer from it. So, making statements like this can really hurt some people, because you never know who around you may suffer from an illness that can be really damaging and hard.

 

I can feel my OCD being triggered by looking at this mess.”

Obsessive Compulsion Disorder is not a joke and it is a very stressful and strenuous condition for those who have it. Many people who have OCD also have other disorders like severe anxiety because if they don’t perform certain rituals or repetitive behaviors their anxiety won’t go away.

 

I can feel my anxiety coming in because of this test” or “Everyone gets anxious

This is a big one that really spreads stigma a lot. Having anxiety is not just feeling anxious or worried about something that is stressful. Having an anxiety disorder can be very severe and can lead to physical symptoms. As a person who does suffer from an anxiety disorder, I will say sometimes it is stressful explaining how this illness is not something that can be easily fixed or is just a one-time feeling, it is a constant battle with your mind. 

 

“I feel so depressed

THIS IS A BIG NO-NO. Depression is not a joke and people who have it can’t ‘just cheer up’ or ‘get over it. Having depression is not just feeling sad but a wide variety of emotions and having many physical reactions; there is a big difference between feeling sad, upset, etc. and being depressed. Many people who suffer from depression experience suicidal thoughts or even commit suicide. In America in 2017, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death – taking over 47,000 lives ( https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml).  

 

“I feel like I’m about to have a panic attack.”

Experiencing a panic attack is not fun, from experience, it is not something people who have never suffer from one should joke about. Having one is very scary especially if you are alone and around a lot of people who don’t understand. This is also something different from having an anxiety disorder.

 

 “Why can’t you just pay attention or calm down?”

ADHD (Attention Deficit- Hyperactive Disorder) is something many kids and young adults’ experiences and it can’t be cured just like many of these disorders. People who suffer from ADHD usually have some sort of chemical imbalance in their brain that causes it. It is more than just being fidgety or talkative; it’s also not a trait they have. This disorder can be confused with being outgoing or impulsive, but it is something they cannot control. 

 

Photo borrowed from google images.

 

There are many other phrases and stigmas that can be harmful and hurtful to those who suffer from a mental health disorder, so always be aware of it. If you know someone who has a mental illness or disorder, do your research on what you can do to help them feel comfortable or safe. Even though many feel the need that saying certain things like “just be happy” or “just get over it”, it is not that simple and phrases like this can be very harmful. Many people suffer from mental disorders due to a variety of reasons whether it is trauma, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), or a chemical imbalance; don’t think just because they are not suffering on the outside where it is visible that they aren’t suffering. Also, unless you have experienced a disorder, you don’t have the right to comment on their symptoms because you will never know a person will react to your words. Having a mental illness or disorder is NOT A TREND and will never be. 

Please be aware of your actions and help those who need it. If you are suffering from a disorder or illness just know you are not alone and there are many people out there who are willing to lend a helping hand and listen to your REAL problems. Never think your problems are not worth it because they are and always will be. 

 

 

If you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please do not hesitate to call the national suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255. If you see the signs of a person wishing to commit suicide, please call 911 immediately.