By Maddie Young
Depression. Anxiety. Bi-polar. PTSD. Schizophrenia. ADHD.
When these words pop into your mind they are instantly paired with a negative connotation. Our society has made people think that these are all “bad” words. The truth is, there is NOTHING bad about these words. Our society has turned something absolutely horrible that cannot be controlled into something that you should be embarrassed about or ashamed of. Society wants you to think that there is something wrong with you. Society wants you to think that you are “crazy” or a “freak.” Society doesn’t care about how amazing you are at art or what a wonderful athlete you are. Some of the strongest and smartest people in this world suffer from a mental illness.
Mental illnesses are NOT something a person chooses to have. Someone doesn’t wake up one morning and think, “Hey! I am going to be depressed today,” or “when I go to the mall today I am going to have a massive panic attack.” These are NOT things that we just up and decide we are going to do today just for the fun of it. It’s actually the complete opposite.
Mental illness’ will do whatever they please. For those of you who don’t know, mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in a person’s brain. People who have never dealt with mental illnesses do not understand and that is OK! Just like anything else, unless you have been in a situation yourself it will be extremely difficult for you to understand what that person is going through.
As someone who has battled with mental illness for several years, it is awful. I would never wish mental illness on anyone. In my 20 years on earth; I have dealt with a divorce, the introduction of stepparents, a tornado, and taking on the mom role for a year and this journey is honestly the hardest thing I have had to deal with. Between inpatient treatment for a week and just starting partial hospitalization treatment, I have felt every possible emotion. Hurt, embarrassment, shame, terrified, worried, anxious, the list is endless. I’ve felt it all.
The truth of the matter is; mental illness does NOT define me. Mental illness does NOT make me a bad person. I should NOT be embarrassed. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the negative things and see the list of what all is “wrong” with me but I am so much MORE than depression, anxiety, ADHD, multiple personality disorder and an eating disorder. I am a fighter. I am strong. I have a heart that is three sizes bigger than a normal person’s. I am smart. I am courageous. I am a sister, daughter, friend, cousin, roommate, student, babysitter, and on and on. God would not have thrown these curve balls at me for nothing. He knew what he was doing when he created me inside my mother’s womb. God does not give us more than we can handle even though at times it seems like it is.
What our society needs is education; to take a step back and think about all of the positives. Society needs to provide support. We need to break the stigma that is paired with mental illness. Some of the most beloved people fought mental illness. Robin Williams, Buzz Aldrin, Beethoven, Calvin Coolidge, Princess Diana, there is an endless list. People only saw how happy and filled with laughter these stars were and it wasn’t until the truth came out that society’s view changed. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” We are all God’s children and are all created uniquely, so we should be loved and accepted even with our “differences.”