According to statistics, at least a 14.3% of Mexicans suffer from anxiety, making that illness the most common one among citizens, but what is the problem? Most Mexicans don’t take mental health seriously and like to think of it as the lack of strength, a simple state of weakness.
As a person who was diagnosed with anxiety when I was still 14 years old, I can confirm that feeling. At first, I didn’t understand the concept of the illness I was going through and I blamed myself for being “too weak.” I tried to seek help but I didn’t have enough money to get continuous therapy.
A few days ago at school, a class released their new project called “emotional health.” I was curious about their ideas, but it turned out to be a project about posting motivational quotes on the school’s Facebook group. Although I was expecting more, I appreciate their effort of trying to bring light to this subject that still is a huge stigma among fellow Mexicans. But yes, there is more to do.
Supportive words are nice to hear, but unfortunately, people with mental illness need way more.
That strategy indirectly makes the erroneous statement that mental illness is just a state of mind, that the people suffering from it just need to “get over it,” or “be happy.” It practically doesn’t treat that ailment as what it is — a neurobiological illness that sometimes has to be controlled with medication.
Other times, I had to witness my classmates mocking anxiety, depression and eating disorders for a project, while my remaining classmates laughed at the jokes. I stared silently, wondering if they’ve ever felt any of those illnesses themselves. Why was it a joke to them something that terrifies people every day of their lives? That was one of the reasons I was motivated enough to write this, to state that mental illness is not a joke and it’s not magically cured with motivational quotes.
Back when I was at my worst, I tried reaching for help at school and the doors were closed right at my face. So, as a suggestion, from a person who can relate to the struggle of suffering “emotionally,” I would recommend to people who are blessed with an illness-free life to be more sensitive when you joke about things you don’t understand at all and to anyone who wants to feel empathy and try to help, please start by bringing professional help to those in need.
We appreciate your kind words deeply, but we need more than that.
Photo: Claudia Soraya