To many people, those who are “mentally ill” are “crazy” people who act weird or are people in asylums. But in reality, a lot of “normal” people suffer with some sort of mental illness. It is something which people stereotype without even thinking. If they hear the word depressed, they think a person who wants to commit suicide or hates their life. If they hear postnatal depression, they imagine a woman who can’t cope with her baby or wants to hurt her baby. If they hear bipolar, they imagine someone with a split personality or someone with a very odd personality. I could go on and on with the different stereotypes.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are people who are like that, but the majority of people with these mental illnesses do not fit the stereotype. I myself have suffered from postnatal depression and I can tell you now, not once did I ever feel like I resented or wanted to harm my child. I was coping very well as a parent, but not coping with the rest of my environment. Simple things, like going to work, doing housework, going out, just normal day to day tasks were difficult. I did not want people to know and still try to keep quiet about it now, because people judge you. They treat you like a child or like you can’t do anything on your own without someone there to keep an eye on you. Luckily my work was understanding, but my friends very much less so. One particular friend, constantly made remarks which incredibly annoyed me. When I’d point out that I was “normal” just like she was, she’d then remind me that I was not “normal”, I had a mental illness. Even when I was better, she would still remind me of it. I realise that she was just being ignorant, but it is something which really winds me up.
It is a very common thing to have a mental illness, many people have mild cases and many have the severe, you probably know many people with some degree of mental illness, but will not know about it. Other disablilties which are visable, are far more accepted than a mental disability. Which to me is very wrong, just because you can’t see it, does not mean it is not there, should be ignored or stereotyped. As I’m sure people with other disablities believe, we are “normal” people. Everyone is unique in their own way, which means that no one is “normal”.
I don’t usually care much about celebrity fall outs or any of that nonsense, but the Miley Cyrus and Sinead O’Connor one got my attention. Miley Cyrus mocked Sinead O’Connor and Amanda Bynes for their previous/current mental illnesses. It really annoyed me. SInead was only trying to give her advice and she just threw it back in Sinead’s face. Like the childish little girl she is. But being a celebrity and a role model to so many young girls/women, that set such a bad example. Making it look ok to mock people with mental health issues. It’s difficult enough having to deal with your mental illness, without having people mock or judge you.
So next time you hear about someone who has a mental illness, don’t judge them, because one day you too could suffer with one and then you’ll realise how difficult it actually is.
Thanks for reading
From the “normal” Ariadne who suffered from depression