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Removing The Stigma

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Removing the Stigma

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            The stigma that society has associated with mental health disorders is slowly fading. However, even with this progress those who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are embarrassed to share this part of themselves with others. I know from experience, as I am one of them. I believe that by talking about mental health issues and showing that we, those who live with mental illnesses, can lead healthy and functional lives regardless of our diseases, the stigma can be removed.

The common image that pops into most people’s heads when they think of a person with depression is someone who cannot function in their day-to-day life; someone who spends nights crying, no longer cares about their appearance, withdraws from their friends and family, and is unable to find pleasure in anything that most people find enjoyable. But in reality, many people with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses blend right into society. They go to work, school, and receive promotions and awards. They hang out with their friends, go to concerts and movies, and can even be spotted laughing and smiling. More often than not, these are the people who have received help regardless of the negative attitudes towards their disorders. This is what the norm needs to be

Going to therapy and being on antidepressants or other medication should not be viewed as negative things. In fact, they should be seen as the exact opposite and celebrated! These are steps to becoming healthier, regaining control, and getting back on track to live a normal and sane life. Asking for, receiving, and accepting help is one of the hardest things we have to do as human beings, especially for those of us who struggle with our mental health. It shows incredible strength when an individual does so and it should be acknowledged and praised! It doesn’t call for judgment or being labeled as weak or losing control.

If you feel as though you’re suffering alone, try to remember that you’re the farthest thing from it. There are support groups both in person and online. Let yourself take steps to recovery and understand that healing and becoming happy again takes time. Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders are not a death sentences or tunnels with no light at the end. They are diseases that can either take control over your life or not, but that is up to you.

So, my message to those to suffer is to get help in any capacity you can and are confortable with. It will take time and it will be hard but you are strong for making it this far. My message to those who do not suffer is to educate yourself and others about the issue and try to raise awareness. Stop joking about depression, bipolar disorder, and cutting. Make small changes one day at a time. Do your part to remove the stigma.

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