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Mental Health

I’m Proud Of How I Handle My Mental Illness, Not That I Have One

Illustration by Elisabetta Stoinich / iStockphoto.com

Illustration by Elisabetta Stoinich / iStockphoto.com

There’s a common opinion lately that mental illnesses are being romanticised, maybe that’s the case for some. For example, I’ve witnessed many express their want and desire for a relationship like that of Tate and Violet from  American Horror Story. Anybody who has seen that show should understand why that is not a healthy goal to aspire to, despite it being fiction. However, I have also witnessed attacks on people for doing nothing other than being open about what they go through.

I have mild depression and anxiety, after a hard time at school, from bullying to self acceptance, it’s taken me a while to get into a mindset where I can say “you know what, yes I do suffer but it’s up to me how I handle it” and I rarely express myself publicly,  that’s just me. We could spend all day analysing why I wish to keep myself to myself, but the important factor is, that’s my choice.

I applaud those who are comfortable enough to regularly discuss their disorders, their treatment. I admire the strong coping mechanism. I don’t look to them and think “hey, how dare you?” so where do we draw the line? Coming together and removing barricades are what should be important. Talking down others and requesting they hide away because the mere mention of mental health makes you uncomfortable, strengthens the stigma surrounding the issue. When it comes to having some form of mental disorder, you’re expected to act a certain way otherwise you’re “making it up” which I am certain is playing into this new found outrage of MH being romanticised. People either talk about it too much or not enough,  there is simply no winning.

It’s easy to dismiss people as attention seeking when we don’t understand the issue at hand. Due to the popularity of shows such as Skins, sites like Tumblr and Twitter have becomed flooded with screenshots of particular scenes where mental health is discussed, accompanied with sentences like “I wish I was Effy.” These kind of statements are near enough always met with responses, mainly negative, and rightly so, who would really want to have to deal with issues like Effy Stonem’s? But using these instances to silence others has become the easy hand to play, and I think it’s quite damaging. Ignorance is a reoccurring theme in the discussion of MH. Either lack of education or just simple carelessness, both could be solved with more open discussion.

Every single person with some form of mental health illness has a way they deal with it. Whether it’s through music, posting a selfie or simply speaking out about a positive moment they’ve had during a bad day, what may seem like a small thing to one person, could be a massive stepping stone to another. Obviously I cannot speak for every single person with a mental illness, who am I to even attempt to? I do however, wish I didn’t have this chemical imbalance, but I am proud of my journey. And I can only hope, others feel this way about themselves, past, present and future.

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Claire Peace
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Autumn leaves, foreign movies and dogs. Twitter: @clairefp_

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