Mental illnesses are not a joke

When reading please be open minded.

Mental illnesses are NOT a joke or a choice. People with them go through hell before they have even recovered. It’s not just a case of smiling and feeling better, or calming down and not being scared. The thoughts and feelings are there day in and day out. On good days they are not suddenly fixed, they simply have more control on that day than others.

Before even getting treatment to help their struggles there are multiple battles to be won. First, working out what’s happening in your own mind which is confusing and scary. This process often causes self hate and frustration as the person just wants to feel better. They are likely to experience panic attacks with no understanding of why they can't  breathe. Second, being able to build up the courage to tell someone about it. At this point a lot of people experience discrimination or hate. They get called things like an attention seeker or stupid, others weak or pathetic. These words are very harmful to someone when they have already had struggled to talk about their feelings in the first place. Often in younger people their feelings get brushed off by the people they tell just because they are young. Some often think it’s just a phase or they are being an emotional teenager this, however, is not the case. When getting told there's nothing wrong with you by a loved one simply because they don't understand, can be extremely demoralizing. Next is getting professional help. In the UK that means going on a huge waiting list or getting referred 4 times until the correct help is actually available, this can take a year or more. In other countries it's finding the HUGE amount of money to pay for therapy. After going through all of that they then have to start recovery, which will most likely be the hardest thing they ever have to do. Facing their worst fears head on is scary.

The next time you think someone is weak because of their illness, look how strong they have to be.

The next time you don’t think you are brave and strong, look at what you have gone through. Having a mental illness is scary. If you have one, thank you for being brave every day. If you don’t just respect those who do.

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