The mentally ill are today’s forgotten Americans. There are so many of us, and you can see us, but unless you live it, you can unfortunately never truly understand. You may have a classmate with schizophrenia, or a colleague with social anxiety. And while we may recognize that these people are struggling, we don’t often stop to think about how different their lives actually are.
I have bipolar disorder. While many people may look at me and see me as “normal”, they fail to recognize that this illness affects me at work, school, and even in my social life. People who don’t suffer from a mental illness are lucky in some ways, but they tend to be less compassionate when dealing with those of us who do struggle. It’s not their fault. How could they not forget about us? They don’t live like us. So as much as they can try and help when we’re in need of support, they can only give so much. And then they go back to their lives and leave us to continue our struggle.
Like I said, it’s really no one’s fault and there’s no point in blaming people or pointing fingers. It’s just the way it is right now. But luckily, we can change it. Through outlets like The Wish Dish, and other websites, we can share our stories, raise awareness, and hopefully normalize mental illness in our society.
It should be okay for our coworkers to know. It should be okay to talk about it at a family dinner. It should all be okay. We should not sit silently while our peers talk about their every day issues if we’re not allowed to talk about our own.
It’s so sad that it’s considered socially incorrect, or oversharing to speak up about our daily struggles. If a mother of three can talk at a family party about how she can’t get any sleep because of the kids, why can’t I bring up my lack of sleep because of my mania? They’re both valid life experiences that should be shared.
Hopefully, more and more brave individuals will come forward about our their experiences with mental illness so the rest of us can feel less alone, and more like we’re part of a supportive community of people who can lift us up when we need it most. Hopefully, people without mental illnesses will come to understand how common these diseases are, and how it should be okay to talk about them. Hopefully, it’ll happen soon.