In Honor of World Mental Health Day

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 was World Mental Health Day- a day that brings recognition to mental health awareness and education. In honor of World Mental Health Day, I want to talk about everything I know about mental health.

One: eating disorders are not trendy. In seventh grade my goal each day was to eat less than 500 calories. I was fourteen. To this day, I am hyper aware of everything that enters my body. I have never and I will never call what I did an eating disorder, but it is still something to talk about. Being thin is associated with being beautiful by celebrities and television and movies, and to even think about what you’re eating in a way that isn’t health related, but hurt related, is dangerous.

Two: anger problems are not the butt of a joke. There are people who get angry, then people who can’t help but get angry. Telling someone who might actually have anger problems that they shouldn’t be angry isn’t okay. They can’t help it! It actually makes them feel worse, and makes them feel like they’re the one with the problem. Instead, try to talk to them and guide them towards help. Tell them that you’re concerned for them and that you want to see them get better. Don’t try to downsize the problem if you feel like it is hurting them.

Three: depression is highly relevant in today’s society. A lot of people go undiagnosed with depression each and every year. People from rich and poor families get depression, as well as people with friends and people without friends. Depression has no stereotype- anyone can be depressed. But don’t use “depressed” as a feeling if you aren’t depressed. Talk to your friends if you find that they might be depressed. Signs of depression can include reluctance to hangout with friends, sleeping too often or too little, not doing the things they’re obligated to do, and joking about dying. Depression hits people sometimes especially hard during their college years, so try to be on the lookout for warning signs for your friends, and for yourself.

Four: anxiety isn’t funny. People with real, diagnosed anxiety generally don’t want to tell their friends about their anxiety- I know I didn’t. Sometimes being on medication for it is better in the long run though. Anxiety is not “oh, I don’t think I’ll do too well on my math test today”. It’s the person that lives inside you that’s telling you constantly that life is too hard and you’ll never amount to anything, anyways. It’s yelling at your dog because he wants attention, yet he didn’t do anything wrong. It’s feeling overwhelmed when something as simple as your hair blowing in the wind causes you to have a panic attack. Don’t use anxiety as a joke. Don’t take anxiety medication as a joke, either.

Five: body image impacts everyone differently. There are certain things you can do to change how you see yourself, and maybe eventually it will work. My body image problems stem from what I see in the mirror, whereas my friends all call me skinny. This mix of opinions stresses me out, and I can’t tell what version is true. Other people struggle with being too thin or too big, or even too muscular. Body image problems are experienced by everyone.

 

For World Mental Health Day, I want you to Stop the Stigma. I have anxiety, depression, and anger issues. Stop the Stigma and stand up for your own mental health.