Why do we judge those who are different? Are they less human than anyone else? Do some people just judge out of fear of their own insecurities? Is it sometimes just easier to dismiss everything and pretend?
I often think and analyze about how and why certain things happen. These types of questions and behaviors constantly have me stumped as to why others choose to judge those who are different from them especially when it comes to the mentally ill.
Why has mental illness become something that we shouldn’t or that we can’t talk about? Some see mental illness better kept as a secret. They might believe that it would be better for those types of issues to be left unsaid and to never be brought up or dealt with. They might also believe that by not talking about mental illness or by recognizing the issue that they are probably doing the person struggling with the illness a favor. In reality, those who have chosen to dismiss mental illness and avoid the topic completely may only be helping one person: Themselves. Not necessarily the person struggling with the illness. Those with such reactions may feel awkward or embarrassed that these types of issues are so close to them or they might just not know how to talk about it.
They may say things like or similar to:
“No, don’t mention that. We don’t want to talk about so and so and their struggles.”
“Let’s talk about something positive.”
“Let’s change the topic.”
“It is what it is.”
“Why do you feel the need to tell everyone your business?”
When people react in this way, become dismissive, or treat mental illness as a horrible thing, it comes off that they don’t care and that it isn’t important. These reactions and attitudes towards these conditions ultimately hurt those who struggle every day, especially if it is coming from family or those who are close to them. Did you know that mental illness occurs in every family and every person? From stress, to anxiety, to depression, and schizophrenia, every person has and is going to experience some type of mental illness in their lifetime. Mental illness is not as rare as some may think and it should never be considered as a sign of weakness.
Those who live with mental health conditions are not choosing to suffer and it is not possible for them to just change their thinking or snap out of it. Once society becomes more informed and aware of mental health conditions, they may no longer see it as a weakness or a flaw. The fear and misunderstanding may be lifted from those who once weren’t familiar with such illnesses and also from those who are struggling. Everyone should try to keep an open mind, listen without judging, and educate themselves further. If we choose to recognize and understand the struggles of those who live with a mental illness, we will conquer and overcome the unnecessary stigma and also save many lives in the process. Mental health IS an important topic and we DO need to talk about it!