by Clea Thomas
In this day and age, our society is learning to love and accept people from all walks of life and accepting them as a whole. It is easily agreed that we are advancing into a brand new type of society. However, we can only advance so much at a time. One major factor of human lives that affects millions of people worldwide is still frowned upon or thought to be an embarrassment: mental illnesses. Mental Illnesses are completely real and relevant and can no longer be ignored in the advanced society that we live in today.
When you have the flu, you get to stay home from school or work, no questions asked. But when someone says, “My depression is getting the best of me,” or “My anxiety is really bad today,” it is simply shrugged off and said that they are fine, faking it, or that, “everyone has those days.” People affected by mental illness have no control over the severity over their illness. Mental illness affects as many as 57.7% adults and 5 million children in the U.S. alone. Some of the most common illnesses include Major Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Disorders are ruthless and can affect anyone no matter their status, age, ethnicity, or anything concerning their identity. Many celebrities have been open about their illness to the public. Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz has been open for many years about his struggle with Bipolar disorder. As lead lyricist for the band and for many other groups, he is not one to shy away from the topic and pretend that he is unaffected, rather he helps his young fanbase understand and deal with the issues. “Everybody figures themselves out in a different way. And I think there’s no shame in talking about that kind of stuff. It’s not something you should feel scared…talking about,” Wentz told the Huffington Post. Celebrities that many adore and idolize are stricken with the same problems as anyone in your circle. They encourage their following to receive help and be open about it, and there is no shame in that. From this, we need to realize that there is no shame in speaking about these illnesses as they are equally as relevant as any other physical injury. The first step to acceptance, is understanding. It is quite difficult to find answers if questions are not being asked.
People with any kind of mental illness don’t have a choice on how they feel. The degree of severity isn’t chosen by anyone either. Those affected don’t have the luxury of being able decide how their day will go or how the roller coaster of emotions will feel for each ride. These illness need to be taken equally as serious as all others. We need to stop thinking that “everyone has those days’” and “I can feel depressed or jittery sometimes, too,” these thoughts discourage others from seeking to obtain help; it makes them feel more of an outcast and that they are just emotional freaks. A message to everyone with a mental illness: You’re not alone, there are people that can help you, and that life is worth living, it may not always seem like it, but the fog will clear.