The Stigma With Mental Illness

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People have the view and mindset that mental disorders should not and are not considered a medical illness.

Alright I’m sure everyone remembers John Green from psychology or history class. The crash course below perfectly explains the stigma with mental illnesses. 

Most people think that people with a mental disorder are to blame for their problem.

Most people think that people with a mental disorder do not make suitable employees.

Most people think that people with a mental disorder could snap out of it if they wanted to.

I suffer from depression, general anxiety, and trichotillomania and mental disorders are a medical illness that should be accepted by society.

Click here to look at this amazing article about Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness.

In high school, my senior year math teacher and I did not get along very well. Okay, I did not get along with many of my teachers in high school. I admit, I usually I provoked an argument, but with this teacher I knew she had something against me and there was nothing I could do about it. I got accommodations for assessments due to my General Anxiety Disorder, meaning I would get time and a half when taking a quiz or test. This teacher did not believe in accommodations and would stand next to me while everyone was staring at me and pressure me to finish, which obviously, did not help with my anxiety and made it worse, resulting with many failed quizzes. Once she stated when I was getting extra help from her how I would not be suitable with my attitude for a job, which embarrassed me to an extreme level causing more anxiety and depression, and then I would backlash. I don’t know, I like to think of myself as a kind and outgoing person, but with someone with more power than me constantly putting me down causes the inevitable cycle to continue.

Based on my high school experiences, many would believe that I cause my problem. At school, it was always me who was blamed for provoking an argument when it was the teacher who disrespected me. My high levels of anxiety turn into a panic attack when provoked and would cause me to need to leave the room for a little. Most teachers were okay with this, but some were not as they believed that I am the cause of my problems and I have to suffer and deal with it because I am in class.

When trying to help calm someone down from a panic attack, they just say “calm down” – which is probably the worst thing you can do to someone with anxiety or depression. When I am in a state of panic I just need a hug instead of being told to calm down. Actions speak louder than words.

Click on this link to view 12 Tips for Friends and Family of Those With Anxiety.

All of you probably know what general anxiety and depression is, but most probably don’t know what trichotillomania is. This is the compulsive desire to pull one’s hair out. I’m pretty much an open book, and when I open up to people about this, most just say just put a rubber band on your hand and pull that instead, or put your hair up, or sit on your hands. But, it’s not that simple. No matter what, I continue to pull out hair and I can’t just snap out of it. Same with a panic attack or a depression stage. Depression will always linger in the back of my mind no matter what medicine I take, even though it somewhat helps.

But here’s the thing. Never give up. At my school, if you were a senior and had a grade of a B+ or higher, you would be exempt from the final. My teacher was treating me like I was incompetent and will be a failure in not only her class, but in life. It was all up to one last assessment whether I would have to take this final, and oh trust me on this when I say I did not want to suffer any longer. Except this time, I did not take any of the shit she was giving me. I went to another teacher and took the exam in his room with no pressure and as much time as I needed and I got that 87 in the class and was one of four people in her class that did not have to take that final.

This proved to me that no matter what anyone says, I can be successful no matter my disability and that will take me far in life and I will be a great employee one day. Now I am at my dream school, Emerson College, studying hard and adventuring constantly, and that to me is a step in the right direction, and I hope that encourages you to be a little selfish sometimes and believe in yourself. 

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