There is an unfortunate reality within the world of mental illness, and it’s an idea that is bred from stigmatizing mental illnesses and not properly understanding the idea. Mental illness just isn’t held to the same regard as other forms of illnesses. For most people, a bad physical injury or sickness will put them out of commission, for example, calling into work. These types of things bring about a good amount of physical changes in the person that are visible to others. An employer can see a cast or a brace on a person, they can see the paleness of skin or a runny nose, and they can understand that this person is not well. But with mental illness, none of those exist, at least to the same degree. Your employer can’t look at you and see your depressive episode or your anxiety attack. They can’t see the chemicals in your brain misfiring, sending these shockwaves through your system. You can tell them but they can’t see it.
But then there is the even more unfortunate part: that your employer may not care even if you are going through an episode. There are still a lot of people in this world who don’t really believe in mental illness. To them, mental illness is just a lack of control over one’s emotions. To their point, they’re not wrong; your emotions are often out of control when it comes to mental illness. But what they fail to understand is that mental illness does a real good job of stopping you from taking the control back. To them, you just need to stop feeling sad, or nervous, or anxious, or whatever else they want to describe you with. To them, you just need to get a grip. As if we didn’t know that already, right? We would love to get a grip and feel in control of ourselves. If only they knew that we can’t. Mental illness is constantly pushing back on you when you’re trying to gain control; it is incessantly making your life miserable as you try to get better. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that’s the case. We will say that things are changing, but they’re not where they should be yet.
How Mental Health is Viewed Differently From The “Usual” Ailments
Despite all of the viewpoints and beliefs about mental illness, it is still important for you to keep your mental health in mind. Don’t worry about what others may think; your wellness is more important than their judgment. Taking a day off to focus on your mental health is absolutely okay, and recommended. Even as a child, it can be important to allow yourself to have days where you may not be sick, but you’re minimizing stress and giving your body and mind a break from daily stress. Allow yourself to take time to recuperate. Life doesn’t slow down for your condition but you can allow yourself a day to slow yourself down. It won’t kill you and you won’t lose control of anything else going on. Your work or your school will be just fine. Staying healthy is more important than attending a lecture or meeting. Even if the world isn’t keeping up with your ever-progressing view of mental illness and recovery, you can’t hold yourself back to appease anyone who doesn’t agree with it.
It is a shame that people still refuse to take mental health seriously. People continue to diminish it to a simple flare of emotions that we can control. We don’t know why this stigma and stereotype continues to exist, but we can chalk it up to ignorance at its core. Some people are afraid to face the reality of it and the possibility that their brain could work against them, and therefore, they choose to live in ignorance. We shouldn’t be angry with them. Whether or not they agree with us, anger will not change their minds. Through compassion and, honestly, love, we can begin to build those bridges to understanding.
It’s easy to find ourselves angry at people who aren’t taking our afflictions seriously. We aren’t trying to defend or rationalize their mindset. We are on your side of the issue, but we also encourage you to allow them some grace to learn about it. We have to show them how it affects us without pointing the finger at them. If we were to lash out at them, play the victim, then there wouldn’t be anything accomplished. We have to bring compassion to the table, even if they don’t. Show them how you live your life, how you are still stronger than ever with a mental illness, and they can learn. Don’t let their views hold you back; take those days to yourself and recoup. The change in mindsets will come. You just have to focus on you and being the best you that you can be.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]