This is one of the most difficult challenges our world battles silently that affects the rich and poor, male or female, old or young. Mental illness is an ongoing problem that can strike anyone. It is a widespread problem that would be something we assume would be discussed about; however, that doesn’t tend to happen. We have maintained an absolute silence about the problems related to mental illness, only being conversed when it’s too late. Thus, a result of misinterpreted information leads to stigma surrounding mental illness. “Disturbed”, “psycho”, “demented” and hundreds of other terms are often used to portray a person with a mental illness. Having a mental illness is comparable to climbing a ladder, however, it never really ends and [possibly] eventually you will grow tired and give up. We, as a society are the ones dehumanizing the mentally ill. Likewise, mental illness is metaphorically similar to a box, but can only be opened from the inside. However, the stigma associated with mental illness is the reason why the “box” won’t be opened. Now, the question is why is there still so much stigma surrounding mental illness? There are plentiful of factors that influence the way we view mental illness.
As I’ve mentioned before, about the fact that stigma associated with mental illness is a major challenge our society is facing. Moreover, it seems like the media’s effort to destigmatise it had a drastic turn, due to fact that individuals have begun to romanticize mental illness. The problem is, however, is that media is making it appear more like a fad than actually acknowledging the fact that mental illness is an authentic reality for someone. In some books, movies and TV shows, etc mental illness is falsely perceived as “beautiful” or a quirky trait a character has. Let me be blunt here, mental illness is far from beautiful. But don’t get me wrong, someone with a mental illness can be beautiful, on the other hand the mental illness itself, is like drowning, but inside your own mind. Throughout my experience with social media, I’d say Tumblr is one of the main contributors to romanticizing mental illness (I am not trying to say Tumblr is a horrible site you shouldn’t be on, because there are a lot of nice blogs out there. Just saying that there are a lot of people on the site that romanticize mental illness). The reason being is a [undetermined] portion of Tumblr blogs include black and white photos with poems/text about how a lover will appear and fix all your scars and everything will be alright once you’re with them. There are much more images and posts similar to this. This is how media represents having a mental illness is like; however, this is far from the truth. It makes people glorify it as a “beautiful tragedy”, when in reality mental illness is silent torture.
(These sentences were found online)
“You look so anorexic!”
“Quit being psycho!”
“My mom yelled at me yesterday! She’s so bipolar!”
“You almost gave me a panic attack!”
“I spent the entire morning cleaning out my garage! My OCD is coming out again!”
“I stayed up until 1AM doing homework, my insomnia is so bad!”
Mental disorders are not adjectives that we could just throw around. When someone uses a mental disorder to describe how they’re feeling that have zero relevance to the mental illness, then they’re degrading the people who are actually suffering from it. Despite the seriousness of mental illness, there are plentiful of individuals who still continuously and carelessly use mental disorders as adjectives. The people who do this, they’re not even discussing about the mental illness or being aware of the fact that there are very real people who struggle with a mental illness. The problem is, most likely because they have a lack of knowledge of mental illness and don’t understand how this can be very impactful to the people who suffer with it.
These are many factors that contribute to stigma surrounding mental illness. However, I have only discussed about the ones that I have seen and experienced in real life.
Still, mental illness is still not being treated seriously and discussed. I believe it’s time we began to be more aware of this problem because we never know who is suffering since you cannot visually see it.