Have you ever caught yourself saying “Oh my god, I’m so depressed” or “That gives me so much anxiety“? I’ve done it too. I think it’s safe to say those sayings are common in mainstream vocabulary, but what do they really mean? Have they lost their true significance?
I think so & let me tell you why.
Mental illnesses are far too often undermined, left in the dark & not talked about. They’re also often frowned upon, denied & their severity & impact on physical health is underestimated. As a result, we learn to use those words loosely. We give them less meaning than they actually deserve.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to feel sad, stressed out, anxious & even so down that all you went to do is stay in bed. Sadness is part of the normal spectrum of human emotion.
But there’s a difference between those feelings & actual diagnoses of depression & anxiety & that’s where the issue lies.
Someone who is diagnosed with anxiety or depression experiences an abnormal emotional state, a real mental illness that affects the way they think, their perceptions, the intensity with which realities & emotions are faced & felt & alters behaviour chronically in a way that hinders day-to-day activities.
Depression & anxiety don’t follow any “normal” emotional rules & impact the body & mind in ways that prevent the individual from enjoying any & everything they once got pleasure from. It’s more than just a feeling of sadness that comes & goes or is felt at different levels of intensity in one day or hour, it’s a chronic state of mind that’s so overwhelming, it seems like there’s no way out.
This is one of the many reasons I believe raising mental health awareness is so important.
Awareness is the first step in recognizing behaviours & taking active roles to alter them based on what we learned.
Life is a constant learning experience & I speak out about my journey towards stable mental health in hopes that I could raise just a bit of awareness in one of your minds.
It has to start somewhere & we can all play our part.
If you suffer from a mental illness, please don’t be ashamed to speak up about it.
You have a voice & it’s more valuable than you think.