#worldmentalhealthday And Why It’s Important To Break The Stigma Around Mental Illness

Hi everyone!

The title is a bit of a moutful, and I wasn’t quite sure how to phrase it either, but let’s go with this one. This post is going to be mostly my thoughts on the subject of mental health anyway. 

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I’ve always been an observant person. I often find myself people-watching and noticing details and wondering about things that go unsaid and what’s going on under the surface. As I got older and started dealing with certain mental issues of my own, the curiosity for the within only grew stronger. 

I didn’t really ever feel like I could talk to others about what was going on inside my head, and the few times I did try to communicate my feelings and struggles, I felt as if I wasn’t making any sense and like I was just burdening others with my problems. I guess I grew up in an environment that didn’t really ever encourage talking about emotions, and that, combined with the facf that it’s always been much easier for me to express through writing than verbally (I’m very guarded and witty and sarcastic when you talk to me, whilst in writing, like this blog, I can share things I haven’t even said once out loud) and that fear of being a burden, and it all just caused me to build these high protective walls around myself and learn to suffer in silence.

It’s only this year that I’ve started opening up a little about mental health – I’ve discovered some things about myself and I’ve done a solid bit of research – and yet still I feel quite anxious before posting any post similar to this one or sharing my writing that touches on this subject. 

When you’ve been keeping certain things and feelings and thoughts bottled up inside for years, it becomes incredibly difficult to even think about opening up to people.

And one of the reasons why is also the stigma around mental illness.

We can start with the fact that communities, countries, cities, universities etc, do not put enough emphasis on mental health care. Suicide rates are spiking up, the number of people with some kind of mental disorder is astounding in the most awful of ways. There are so many people who are struggling for help, and a large portion of them have never felt comfortable or safe enough to reach out and get help. There is definitely not enough being done to provide help of low (if any) cost and a better accessibility. 

And then there is the world that we live in: the media, the greatly un-educated people, those who have never experienced that kind of pain and emptiness firsthand, those who believe that people with Borderline Perosonality Disorder are crazy, those who say hurtful things like “you’re better off dead” or something along those lines. Those who do not understand, but instead help spread this unjust stigma.

So what can be done? What can you do?
Firstly, educate yourself. There are so many high-quality websites out there that talk about different mental illnesses; those are good for theory, but you also should go to Youtube and watch videos made by people with the illness who talk about their personal experiences. The same illness will manifest differently on each individual, so it’s pointless to draw general conclusions – it only negatively impacts the view society has on mental illness. 

Step two is to practice kindness and understanding. If you even suspect someone to be in emotional distress, reach out to them. Look for the signs and look for approaches to get them to open up. Listen to them if they do, sometimes it means the world. 

I do understand that it’s difficult to do even that, to reach out to someone and see if they’re alright. I mean, it would be a little strange to just go up to someone and say, “hey, you looked kinda depressed, is everything well?” It could create some pretty awkward moments. We all, me included, have to work on these approaches and find a good way to handle delicate situations.
And I can’t begin to tell you how often I wonder if the people around me feel everything so strongly and deal with issues similar to mine. I’ve never had a big open conversation with any of my friends about these things. Sometimes it makes me think that nobody else feels like I do, and that’s actually a really big part of the problem: people feeling alone and isolated and misunderstood. Because not enough people feel comfortable enough to share their feelings in fear of rejection and not getting validation of their struggles. And it just goes in a circle and nobody confides in anyone.

And that needs to stop.
We need to learn how to share and learn how to listen and learn to create a safespace for people to open up about their problems. 

So if you’re reading this, if you’ve made it this far, I need you to know a couple of things.
Firstly, if you are struggling and need someplace or someone to vent to, you can leave a comment here or send me a message on Instagram trough here 

Secondly, I want you to remember that you are not alone, And believe me, I know how much you feel like that’s not true, because I’ve been there, plenty of times. But so many people are going through similar stuff and so many people will understand you. Trust the universe that you’ll find those people and find someone to confide in. 

Thirdly, bad days are not the end of the world. Again, I know they feel like the end of the world, but they’re not. Just keep pushing forward, because you can do it. It had to get better at some point. Like I’d written above on the picture, you deserve your happy ending and a beautiful story. Some chapters will straight-up suck. But some chapters will be so incredibly amazing that the bad ones will hurt a little less. The most important thing is to keep writing that book. Don’t leave it on a tragic cliffhanger. There are so many beautiful aspects to life and I want you to experience as many of them as possible.

And lastly – you’re doing great and I believe in you. Here’s a huge virtual hug *HUG*

To those who aren’t struggling in that way, whether you know someone who is or not, please practice your mindfulness of these subjects. Go hug some people. Reach out. Be there for others. Be nice to everyone, even strangers. 

Thanks for reading and love always,

T.

Oglasi

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