The Misconceptions of Mental Health

By: Marlee Billiter

I’d like to brain dump this article because that’s the simplest way to stay real, and nothing is better than the horrid truth. Over the past few years, I’ve come to understand myself more and more, while at the same time realizing certain difficulties that I have. I didn’t talk to people about any of it; instead, I lost many friends and isolated myself from everyone else–I still find myself doing this on occasion–and the problem only grew the longer I stayed quiet. 

I tried for so long to convince myself it was a phase and that I was just doing it to myself. I let a keen, saddening emotion take over my life. As I’ve grown alongside this illness, I’ve learned a hard truth when trying to find refuge in others. Because the most angering thing about it all is the apathy that surrounds mental health. Many adults struggle to see the struggles of new generations, failing to see how someone whose life seems so good could possibly have any mental health issues. This is beyond enraging. 

Everyone has difficulties in their life, and these can all lead to other, more harmful problems. The most important thing to recall in situations is you don’t know what someone is or has gone through. I was faced with the question, “Why do you have anxiety?” It’s a simple question, and I’d get why anyone would ask, but it often comes with the wrong tone. I was asked how I could have anxiety with a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and other basic necessities, but just the disrespect to my apparent vulnerability made my blood boil. There’s no need to dilute how I feel or make it completely subjective. At the moment, I had just finished spending all my money on a new phone that I didn’t even break, stressing about every other part of my life, and someone had the audacity to tell me I shouldn’t have anxiety.

I always get reminded of “Just” by Radiohead in these moments. “You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s why it really hurts.” I’m being told that it’s me causing all these problems for myself, being stressed out in situations I don’t need to be, but what a lot of people don’t understand is that I have no control over it. There’s nothing I can do in these situations besides sit there and try my hardest to breathe. The people that have stuck around with me through these estranged moments have shown me what love really is and that even the simplest kindness and care can go a long way. I’ve been longing for this feeling of comfort because I’ve failed to give it to myself. As I find people to give in to, I only realize how important it is to confide in myself, relax with the knowledge I’ve obtained. 

For a psych project, I had to find a video relating to bipolar disorder. There was one of Selena Gomez talking about her diagnosis and saying she’s happier now that she knows. She explains her newly found understanding of herself–that it’s no longer a mystery. She knows what’s wrong and there’s no need to worry about that part. She can put it in the back of her mind and take on her true self. I’m not a fan of Selena Gomez’s music, but this video was very impactful to me. I’ve never had the opportunity to be diagnosed with anything simply because people in my life don’t believe there’s anything there to diagnose, but if I knew, I’d feel much more comfortable about the place I am in now. 

I’ve started to have anxiety attacks more often. They come out of nowhere. One second I’m completely fine, and the next I’m shaking and struggling to breathe, stress overcoming my every thought. It’s scary, but thinking of it, I find it beautifully raw. I like that I can experience emotions in full agony. It’s amazing. Again, it’s scary and incredibly annoying, but I like that I can feel so immensely. I used to have trouble conjuring emotions, but I’ve entered a new era in my life. I’m not worried, I’m enlightened.

The most important thing I want readers to take away from this is that mental health should never be looked over based on someone’s external circumstances. There is always more.

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