The Truth Behind Mental Illness | Teen Ink

The Truth Behind Mental Illness

July 20, 2015
By N.R.Anon PLATINUM, Ayer, Massachusetts
N.R.Anon PLATINUM, Ayer, Massachusetts
21 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't be like so many writers, don't be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers." (Charles Bukowski, So You Want to be a Writer)

“That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.” (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

You can’t just tell someone with cancer or diabetes to suck it up and try harder to get better, so why should it work that way with mental illness? Mental illness is something that is very, very real, yet it is hardly ever talked about in today’s society. An estimated 54 million Americans suffer from some form of mental disorder in a given year, and it is a daily struggle they go through to be accepted into society, illness and all. (Mental Health America, 2015) People with mental illnesses are hardly rare, yet their illness is treated as something that isn’t real, and because of this they do not get the help and understanding they deserve.

U.S. News stated that “as a result, (of the controversy regarding mental illnesses) people with a mental illness often feel isolated, afraid and rejected by society -- a stigma that causes many people to go without the treatment they need…Societal stigma also can hamper treatment if people don't receive the support they need from family and friends…adding that, all too often people diagnosed with a mental illness find their loved ones acting differently toward them.” (Thompson, 2011) People with mental illness are often told just that “it’s just a phase,” but what people don’t understand is that it isn’t just a phase, but a daily struggle that is more monumental than anyone could ever understand. Every day, they struggle with crippling anxiety, devastating depression and constant self-criticism, and those are only some of the symptoms. People with schizophrenia suffer from terrifying delusions, and people with PTSD have to close their eyes every night fearing what nightmares will plague them as they sleep. People with mental illness have to carry a burden that many people do not, but what those other people don’t understand is just how heavy that burden really is.

More than ninety percent of people who attempt suicide have a diagnosable mental illness, yet many of them never got the chance to be diagnosed. (The Kim Foundation, 2014) People with mental illness are relentlessly criticized by society for “not trying hard enough” or not being able to “snap out of” their depression. They are ridiculed and mocked by people who ask them “Why are you so bipolar?” or to “Stop being so depressed all the time.” Mental illness is a sea of highs and lows; one day your life could be completely devastated, and yet the next day life could be alright. This is what people who do not suffer from mental illness can’t seem to understand.

Mental illness is an ongoing battle, yet it is a battle than many people have to face completely alone; simply because no one can seem to understand the terrible reality of the illness itself. While people with cancer or diabetes are given love and support, people with mental illness are given nothing. Many of them are rejected by society, told to come back when they get a better attitude, when all they want is a little understanding. Mental illness is seen as a joke to many people; saying you’re “feeling suicidal” after your favorite band breaks up or calling someone who is acting unpredictable “bipolar” isn’t the same as actually feeling like nothing in life has any meaning and you have nothing left to live for, or someone who literally cannot control their mood swings and has no choice but to go along with them. All people with mental illness want is a little understanding, and that is what they more than deserve. Society treats them as is they were weak, lazy freeloaders who are just acting out to get attention, while people with mental illness are stronger than anything. For what it takes for them just to get out of bed some days; they deserve all the love and support that they are so often deprived of.

People with mental illness are not weak. They do not just need to suck it up. They understand that this is real life, and they have no problem being happy; it’s their illness that’s preventing them from being so, not their personality. People with mental illness are some of the strongest, most accepting, most loving people you’ll ever get the chance to meet. Why? To quote an anonymous source, “Because (we) understand what it is like not to be understood. It hurts. It hurt so bad, to feel like you’re completely alone in this world. All (we) want is understanding. I’d never deprive anyone of that.”


Source:, Arianna Rebolini, These Photos Expose The Ways People With Mental Illness Are Shamed, 2015

The Kim Foundation; Web, Mental Disorders in America, 2014

Mental Health America; Web, Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope, 2015, Dennis Thompson, Even Today, the Stigma of Mental Illness Won't Fade, 2011

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This article has 1 comment.

on Aug. 3 2015 at 9:06 pm
ProfessionalJaywalker GOLD, Rockville, Maryland
12 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore." -Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

I definitely agree with the last paragraph. You meet some of the nicest people in the mental hospital. :/