“Depression isn’t a joke uno”
“Mental illness isn’t real it’s all in your mind”
“Happiness is a choice”
“Cutting all negative energy out of my life, positive vibes only ✨”
Dear all, with mental health awareness week in the UK looming (8th-14th of May), I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about an issue some of us only recently started to give notice to. In a long tradition of hot twitter topics; paying for dates, height (or lack thereof) and my personal fave body counts, mental health issues and how to combat them, have quickly rose to be a staple topic amidst the usual insensitive fuckery within the twittersphere. From delusional ideas such as happiness being based on your ability to decide that you are happy, to stating the severity of mental illnesses such as depression, while simultaneously bullying/body shaming/slut shaming strangers on the net, people’s stupidity seems to know no bounds. But don’t fear children, class is in session and today’s lesson is about dispelling some common myths regarding MI (Mental illness/es).
- DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY AREN’T THE ONLY MENTAL ILLNESSES OUT THERE.
IKR what a shocker. I mean with all of the attention placed on depression and anxiety when talking about MI, who could blame you for not being aware that MI is a lot broader than the scope of its poster illnesses. This doesn’t mean to say that depression and anxiety don’t necessarily deserve the spotlight, but it should be noted that, being at the top of the agenda may run deeper than the fact that anxiety and depression are the most commonly diagnosed disorders amongst young adults in the U.K.
Depression and anxiety are also the most palatable disorders, people have managed to take potentially devastating mental health issues and turn them into traits that can be seen as quirky or endearing. It’s easier to romanticise feelings of social anxiety, and an apathetic view of the world but disorders such as Borderline personality disorder (BPD), or Schizophrenia for example are often ignored. These disorders are “othered”, people aren’t as understanding of the symptoms and how they manifest. There is less of a stigma surrounding depression and anxiety, which I feel is due to relate-ability, people are less likely to demonise what they understand. If you advocate for mental health awareness, just please be mindful that you don’t just focus on and/or accept the ones that “could happen to anyone”.
2. PEOPLE AREN’T BLAMING THEIR COMPLEX BEHAVIOUR ON THEIR ILLNESS.
Saying that having a relative, or a close friend with a MI is easy would be disingenuous because it’s not, but what’s also not easy is everyone thinking your wrongfully blaming questionable behaviour on your mental health issues, when it really is due to to those issues. This isn’t something that is easy to accept but the faster you understand what the symptoms of a certain disorder comprise of, the easier it will become to have a working relationship with said friend/relative. People seem to be okay with accepting that others have MI but still question and alienate those others due to the symptoms of these disorders. For example if your friend suffers from anxiety but you get irritated and tell them to not use anxiety as an excuse to not come out with you. When someone is going through a tough time the last thing they need is to be blamed for their behaviour, you wouldn’t blame someone with a stab wound for bleeding. DO YOUR RESEARCH! This goes for both friends and family along with MI sufferers themselves. It’s important to know what behaviours to tell the people you love to look out for, you can’t expect others to understand how your illness manifests if you don’t.
3. IT’S NOT ONE RULE FOR ALL.
People deal with MI in different ways, and what may work for one may not work for all. You may have a friend who turned to medicine when others have turned to religion or therapy or the bottle. This is also true of the manifestation of disorders, how one person acts isn’t the way anyone with the same disorder will act. Don’t take away from anyone else’s experience because they’re not showing their disorder the way you want them to or expect them to.
This part of the post is addressed to anyone who is suffering or feels as though they are suffering with a mental illness. Your not crazy, someone does care and remember that even if it doesn’t seem like it now, life should be about more than just coping.
Well what I think I’m trying to say is, mental illness awareness should be done on a deeper level than superficial tweets about how “mad” depression is. We’re aware. Less posts about how we “need to take mental health in the black community more seriously” and more about how we go about doing so. It’s time we had an open and honest dialogue about mental health. So, this mental health awareness week, I implore you to do your research, talk to your peoples, work on breaking stigmas and talk about mental illnesses. I definitely plan on doing so.
Argumentative, Outspoken and unapologetically Jaydee x