Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is to write a post expanding on a comment I left on another blogger’s post yesterday. I’ve been thinking about mental health a lot lately, and Annabelle wrote a fantastic post yesterday on her blog clouds in the head that was a sort of mission statement for herself. Basically, she’s gearing her blog toward helping people with mental illnesses feel less alone.
The other day, I wrote a post about how I didn’t feel like doing anything. At the time, my sole reason for posting was to fulfill an obligation I made to my readers and myself to post at least once a week. I really didn’t want to, it was a struggle to do, and it was a very short post. I didn’t realize until later how important it was that I wrote about this. One reason was that it allowed for self-evaluation, which is crucial for making improvements in one’s life. Second, it let others who felt the same way feel less alone, and it made me feel less alone knowing those other people were out there. This is a huge deal, and we need to do this more often.
For whatever reason, mental illnesses have had a stigma associated with them that is so strong that it keeps suffering people from talking about theirs. When people don’t talk about things important to them, they miss out on that connection with other people. They feel like they’re the only ones going through this and that no one can help them.
We need to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness so that people no longer need to suffer in silence. The easiest way to get rid of a taboo is to talk about it.
However, talking about it isn’t enough. We also need to listen. There needs to be a comfortable dialogue between people, both in close relationships and in large spaces like the media. We need to stop judging people or labeling them “psychos” and instead focus on listening to them and understanding who they really are and what they are struggling with.
Since I missed the assignment last week of embedding something into a post (I had no wifi at the time so it wasn’t my fault I skipped assignments…), I’m going to do it this time.
Another part of getting rid of the mental health stigma is to stop incorrectly diagnosing people with mental illnesses. We shouldn’t be diagnosing people at all unless we’re professionals, and we definitely should not be using them to insult people or discredit how people are feeling or *sigh* describe the stock market. Here is a helpful video that explains some of the commonly misused psychological terms.
If we can talk and listen to each other, we will be able to understand each other’s situations, feel better about our own, and create a safe network of communication for those who need it.