Things to Know About Mental Illness

In our society, there is a stigma against mental illness. People with mental disorders are seen as burdens, weirdos, sensitive, selfish, etc. Even the name “mental illness” shows how we label those who aren’t neurotypical.

“Neurotypical” (or NT) is defined as “not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior,” by the Oxford Dictionary. The term commonly refers to those without any mental disorders will be referred to as NT or neurotypical.

The common name for neuroatypical is “mental illness.” This phrase gives off the idea that someone with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or any other mental disorders is ill and can be cured. There really isn’t a cure for any mental disorder. Medicine and therapy is used to help people cope with their disorder, but it cannot be cured.

Telling someone with depression that they should “take a walk,” or “think positively,” is not going to help them. And I can assure you that they’ve already tried that. Drinking more water and exercising regularly will NOT cure their depression. It will just make them more physically fit.

A person isn’t OCD just because they eat their M&Ms in order of color. It’s an insult to the person with actual OCD who checks to see if their door is locked 20 times before bed, and switches the light on and off and on and off until their mind settles and can be satisfied.

Calling your ex “psycho” because they created a scene when y’all broke up and spread rumors about you isn’t okay. You’re just portraying actual psychopaths (who are real people and not just scary monsters) as crazy and out of control.

Anxiety isn’t just being a “worry wart,” or being “too high-strung.” It is often coupled with panic disorder, and causes panic attacks which makes the recipient feel as if they’re dying because they can’t catch their breath and are drowning above water.

Don’t joke about mental illness, and educate yourself about what it really is. Realize that it’s real and it’s all around you.