At Last the Secret to Mental Health Awareness Month from a Depression Survivor

Op-ed

The definition of mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. But what that definition fails to mention is the effect that it can have on your day-to-day life. If you have a disorder, the most important thing to do is being diagnosed and getting the help that everyone deserves. There are many types of mental health disorders. Some of the most popular are Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, and eating disorders, with others such as Alien Hand syndrome being less popular. Something that is common with all mental disorders, is the feeling of helplessness, and always feeling like you are alone. The truth is that you’re not, and there are many ways online to talk to others who are fighting or already have fought the same fight as you. They can help you understand that there is a different way of living, and it’s possible for you to get there as well. Not many people know about the realities of having a mental disorder, and by not knowing they can’t even begin to understand why it’s important to raise awareness.

Depression:

For people who have depression, every day is a constant struggle. The dark thoughts are always at the back of your mind, just itching to take over you and your sanity. Once they do, it’s filled with pain—physical and emotional. Physical pain is the only thing that keeps you grounded and reminds you that this wave will soon be over. You are always tired, no matter how much rest you receive. All of this is my personal experience. Yes, I am a depression survivor. Instead of being ashamed, I’m proud to be able to say this. Without my friends and my family, I might have easily given up and not be writing this article today. They made the fight feel worth it and helped me overcome this terrifying disease.

Fighting a mental illness is hard enough as it is but being told that their problems aren’t real and/or they should just stop whining makes it almost impossible to continue this very hard journey. Every person needs support if they want to change at all, yet many people entirely dismiss these problems, denying a person the chance to change. About 1 in every 4 adults in America suffer from some sort of mental illness, and about 49% of teenagers suffer from a mental health disorder. So why exactly do people not normalize and believe another person when they come forward with their illness?

But I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am. Some parents/friends declare it as a phase, declining the help that everybody deserves. Making this help easily available to everyone is one purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month. That’s the hardest thing about mental illness. You or anyone else can’t see what’s happening, and just because it’s in your head doesn’t mean it’s not real. I am aware that the phrase “it’s all in your head” has just a negative connotation, but I might be the only person who doesn’t understand why that is. People act as though it’s not real if it’s in your head. Some of the most terrifying and hardest struggles are in your head. That’s why it’s important to take care of your mental health. Some people also doubt the fact that mental health can actually affect your whole life, but your brain is responsible for all the functions happening throughout your body. So, of course, your whole body will suffer if your primary organ isn’t healthy. Also, not being able to see the problems with your mental health just makes it even more important to make sure you are performing at your best. Therefore, one of my favorite quotes is: "What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversations" by Glenn Close. So it's okay to not be okay, and if you don't know what to do, start by asking for help. It's also important to make sure that your classmates and other people around you are doing okay; sometimes just asking how their day was can help. If someone does open up to you, the most important thing to do is just to listen, and make sure they know that you're there for them. It might feel like you aren't doing enough, but sometimes that's exactly what people need. Changing the world starts by changing just one person.

There are many different ways to check up on your mental health. Some ways are writing in a journal, having a self-care day, or talking to a professional. Every person’s mental health is different, just like their physical health, and it’s important to discover what works for you. The best way to find that out is experimenting, take some time and just try out some new things. Another thing that is important to remember is that taking time out to take care of yourself is considered productive. Everyone deserves to be healthy, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Resources:

Born This Way

Mental Health Literacy

Depression Forums

Speaking Of Hope

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Arpita Singh
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Arpita is a 15-year-old freshman at a public high school in Arizona. She's very passionate and determined to make changes happen. In addition to being a Teen Magazine writer, she's also a journalist for Redefy. She wants to become a professional journalist, and a social justice activist. You will most likely find her either reading, writing, or tackling down one of her number one enemies... homework.