We Need to Talk About Mental Illness Before It’s Too Late
In one week we have lost two people in the public eye to suicide. Their fake smiles hiding the truth they are holding on their shoulders. Many people will and have asked how Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain could possibly be depressed. Both were wealthy, living luxurious lives, and had fame. There is a false hope in money that we have believed in for so long. No matter how many times someone says that money cannot buy happiness, many of us will never truly believe this.
It is unfortunate that the conversation on mental illness is only had after tragedy strikes. It is unfortunate that the conversation on mental illness is only had after tragedy strikes a celebrity. We have created a society that has a stigma around mental illness. We avoid talking about it because we struggle to wrap our own minds around it. We look at people who face the demons of mental illness as weak, when in fact they are strong.
Mental illness, like other illnesses, does not avoid any one group of people. It does not matter your gender, race, religion, job, or economic standing.
Over the years we have become a society that has welcomed all people, however those who battle with mental illness are still hiding in the shadows. Many of them live in fear of people knowing their struggles, fearing they will be looked at or treated differently.
This is not a one size fits all situation. The way one person deals with mental illness or the way their illness makes them feel is not how others feel. Everyone's experience is different and cannot be fixed with a magic pill or stacks of cash.
We have trivialized many of these mental illnesses over the years making them the butt of jokes. Using the phrase he/she is bipolar to describe someone who freaks out one moment and then is okay, is quite simply wrong. That creates a caricature of real illness many face. We look at depression as just being sad. We think that those that are affected can just simply change the way they are.
We take for granted our minds. We do not realize that our best weapon can be a self destructive one.
We need to continue the conversation about all mental illnesses and not shy away from it. We need to destroy the stigma that has attached itself to mental illness. We need to remind ourselves that people do not choose to have depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction, anxiety, or any other mental illness. It is time we change the way society looks at mental illness before another life is lost.