1 in 4 college students has a mental health disorder. That big 1,000 student lecture hall you have? Statistically based, 250 of them are battling something mental health related.
You don’t think you know anyone? Hi. My name’s Amie.
Over the course of my life I’ve struggled with, and been diagnosed with, five mental health disorders. Some of them have more of an effect on my every day life than others, but how they interact with each other makes everything even more difficult.
Today, I’m currently having a bad day. One of my mental health disorders is playing first fiddle in my life, right now. I’ve had “a bad day” since Saturday. This happens all the time.
On any given night, I never know if I’m going to get a full night’s sleep, thanks to the occasional night terror. I never know how I’m going to feel in the morning. I never know if I’m going to have enough energy and/or strength to make it through the day.
When I trust people enough to tell them that I have these mental health disorders, some of them understand. A lot of people don’t. The stigma that surrounds them sucks.
“Why can’t you just deal with it?”
I try dealing with it. Mental health disorders are a tricky thing. It becomes an even stickier mess when you add more illnesses into the picture. When you have a virus, you have to let it run its course. For me, this is the same way. I HATE the way medicines make me feel. For some people, the various medicines work wonders. But me? I lose every charming characteristic about myself. My sass goes by the wayside. My smile is never around. My jokes don’t happen. My highs and my lows in my mood don’t happen. I’m a constant lull of meh.
I deal with my mental health disorders in the way that’s best for me. Unlike a virus, you can’t catch my PTSD. Coming to the conclusion on how to deal with everything is a constant process and has been a long time coming. How I am at the moment doesn’t mean that’s how it’s going to in the future.
“That’s not a real thing.”
I can assure you mental health disorders are a real thing. They affect my life in very negative ways. I’m not making any of this up. No normal person lies about having any sort of physical illness, so why would I lie about this? For someone to say that mental health disorders aren’t real… I can’t even come up with words to describe how that makes me, and anyone who suffers, feel.
“Can’t you just be happy?”
Everyone has different moods. We’re all human. Several of my moods are linked to my mental health. So no, I’m not always going to be happy. Neither are any of you. When you break up with your significant other, you’re going to have a multitude of emotions. When you get in a car accident, you’re going to have a multitude of emotions. Telling anyone to “just be happy” is not OK. Telling someone who has a mental health disorder, especially depression, to just be happy, is incredibly insensitive.
“So you’re going to shoot up a place when you have a bad day, right?”
Stop. Stop this right now. Mental health plays into the unfortunate situation we have in this country, but just because I, or anyone, has a mental health disorder doesn’t mean we act violently. Not everyone reacts to alcohol the same. Not everyone reacts to tobacco the same. Not everyone reacts to literally anything the same. Stop this. This is not OK.
Oct. 5 is National Day Without Stigma. The stigma that surrounds mental health disorders is a problem. No one talks about it because some people make people with mental health disorders feel like their health isn’t important.
The ignorance around mental health needs to stop. I realize the ignorance and the stigma won’t go away any time soon, but it’s time for progress to be made.
I’m tired of being called “crazy” because I have mental health disorders. All 1 in 4 of us are. We’re not crazy. We have genuine health issues that just happen to affect our head.