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Student Reveals Truth About Mental Health

The melo-dramatic stigma of mental health has made it impossible to cope for those who struggle with it. From social media posts that display toxic positivity, to films that display horrible stereotypes, it’s becoming increasingly hard to be taken seriously as an individual who has a mental illness. 

When you see depression depicted in film, you usually see beauties who are simply “sad,” and suicidal. It’s usually glamorized but the true experiences aren’t shown as much as they should be. A common trait of depression is the severe lack of motivation to take care of yourself. As a person with depression, it’s hard to even do basic functions such as showering or brushing your teeth. Now, perhaps the most common reaction to that is “Gross!” It may be “gross,” but, there is no pretty aspect to a deteriorating mental state, and it is important to acknowledge that. When your body is constantly feeling heavy and your mind is fogged, I doubt that you would be able to function normally either. There are many spectrums of mental illness, but that doesn’t deter from the fact that the thing harming everyone is false perceptions.

Moving forward onto pushing toxic positivity, it is ideal that stereotypes are eradicated in order to educate others on mental health. You have to realize that those with mental illness have brains that are wired differently. The chemical components are lacking and thus, causes us to struggle in what others deem to be normal human functions. You can’t just shake someone up and ask them “why” they feel the way they do. It’s not a simple “Oh I got a bad grade on my test today and that’s why I feel bad.” The true answer is, well, it just happens. Those suffering are already giving their all to even walk out of the house, it’s best to cut them some slack rather than to push a false agenda of “Just be happy.” There is no way to tell from the outside if someone has a mental illness or not. By that I mean, a person who constantly smiles has the same chance of having mental health issues as someone who frowns all the time. 

How do you help someone who struggles with mental health? The best you can do is to be there for them and recognize their efforts. Absolutely do not, infantilize them and over-congratulate them for every basic function they complete. It’s disrespectful and shows that you are already viewing them as less than human. Do not criticize them for also struggling to complete a basic task either. I have social anxiety, and it takes me a good 15 minutes to even muster up the courage to raise my hand and ask others to help me on my work, and it would seem ridiculous to a person who doesn’t understand anxiety, but that is exactly the reason why we, as a society, must eradicate false stigmas on mental health. 

It seems that a lot of people have this idea that medication turns you into an emotionless robot, and while that is creative, it simply is not true. To put it simple, when you are lacking a certain vitamin in your body, you take vitamins to help aid whatever you’re lacking. It works the same way in your brain. There are medications that help stabilize mood and boost serotonin. Of course it’s gonna feel unusual when you finally have that puzzle piece you have been missing in your noggin! No need to fear, the apocalypse isn’t coming yet.

How do we cope with mental illness? Everyone copes differently. Therapy, medication, exercise, and art are a few examples of what I do to get my body to produce happy chemicals, but not everyone has the privilege to get therapy and or medication. A thing I push is that you should give yourself the time to enjoy something that comforts you. Please do not force yourself to live up to someone’s expectations and words. You are doing the best you can and that is enough. You also have to recognize that in order to improve your mental health, you have to apply yourself. You can’t rely on medication (for those that take it) to fix all of your symptoms for you. You must make an effort to rewire toxic habits like self deprecation and loathing. I understand that the road to recovery is not a straight line, and that is why you have to accept your process. Keep reminding yourself that you are simply doing the best you can. Everyday brings a new window for opportunity.

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