The mind is a tricky thing. I often find myself wondering why we think the way that we do, why some of us are ‘programmed’ differently than others. I’m not quite sure that I will ever know these things, but I do know that I will always try my best to understand the way other people’s brains work. I think that mental illness is a very hard thing for people to understand, which in all honesty is okay. I don’t even understand what I go through myself, so how can I expect someone who has no idea what it’s like to? Saying this doesn’t mean people should brush it off, it means that they should be patient and try their best to accept that mental illness does exist.
I’ve often heard people say that “suicide is selfish”, which is actually a pretty inconsiderate thing to say. How can taking your own life be a selfish act? I get that people think that those who die by suicide are only thinking of themselves and not about how it will affect those around them. But the truth is that for that person, suicide seems like the only option, and the only thought running through the suicidal mind is: ‘The hurting must end’. Diminishing someone else’s pain is what is selfish. I have also heard the whole “cutting is attention seeking” statement a lot as well. This is something else that you should probably think about before blurting out. That girl (or boy) over there with the scars probably wasn’t thinking about what other people would think while they tried to open their own veins. I recently watched a movie called Short Term 12 and when asked why she struggled with self harm the main character, Grace, said, “It’s impossible to worry about anything else when there’s blood coming out of you.”
I believe that it is human nature to automatically question things that we can’t quite grasp ourselves. I’ve experienced a lot of reactions to my mental illness, and feel like I have grown up vastly misunderstood. My mental illness has always made doing normal, everyday things really difficult. Anxiety and depression put a lot of these wild fears into my mind, ideas that make me unable to function some days, and I think that has been hard for a lot of my friends and family to recognize. I’m frequently told that I am unreliable and bail out of plans last minute, which is true. But I wish that rather than making me feel even worse than I already do, people could just try to put themselves in my position. I wish people could understand that some days are harder than others, and that getting out of bed can be a really big achievement. I’m tired of snide remarks, and the disdain for my illness.
I want to leave this post with a quote I came across from J.K. Rowling: “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” Understanding something doesn’t necessarily mean you have to know everything about it, but rather stepping up and acknowledging something and doing your best to see things differently.
About Emma Holden
18, tea enthusiast, animal lover, word writer, and wants to change the stigma on mental health one blog post at a time.