Today, we live in a digital age where society as we know it is governed by technology and social media. Constant access to the Internet and the need to feel accepted has forced us to become valued primarily through a screen, through the immediate gratification of others in the form of things such as Facebook likes and Twitter followers. Whether we are aware of it or not, subconsciously many of us base our own value through the opinion of others through our screens every day.
Unfortunately, for those affected by crippling mental illness, this can make things extremely difficult. Every day, and without much thought, memes and controversial opinions regarding mental illness in a negative light emerges through our screens. We speak out about it, yet it still happens. The stigma. People are quick to judge and mock at the detriment of others without even knowing their stories.
Society inflicts this view upon us of what is “normal” and what is “abnormal.” These labels constantly suffocate us; we allow ourselves to let it define who we are and what we are worth. But we shouldn’t.
Who decides what is normal? We are all human. We are all equal in worth. We should all be accepted regardless of what we are going through. We are not “weird”, we are beautiful, and dealing with mental illness does not make you weak. It makes you strong.
No one — even the ones who look confident — feel happy about themselves and accepted all the time. Half the time, we are unaware of the silent battles people closest to us are suffering.
Just because you feel lost now doesn’t mean that you’ll be lost forever. Just because you’re unwell doesn’t make you “crazy”.
It is OK to not be OK sometimes, and that’s what we need to accept in our society where “perfection” is often painted as something we should strive to be. But let me tell you this: no one is perfect, and it is our imperfections which make us beautiful and who we are.
Often, I overhear careless remarks relating to things people struggle with and are burdened with every day, which makes me sad. The ignorance of these people and their judgements make me sad. But we are changing this by being open and talking about mental illness. It is not something to hide or be ashamed of. How we view ourselves is the only thing that is important, not how others view us.
You are learning lessons, tough lessons, that people who haven’t been through it can’t learn. That doesn’t make you an “outcast”; it makes you wise beyond your years. Just because you’re vulnerable and fragile now doesn’t mean you will be this way forever. Mental illness is a daily battle, but never forget how far you’ve come and never give in to the pain. Talk about it, seek support and help and remember that it will get better. Remind yourself that it never rains forever — eventually the sun prevails and the clouds disperse. Be proud of how far you’ve come. It truly is amazing.
Our flaws are what makes us human. Though it’s never easy to battle with illness, it’s important that you keep reminding yourself that you matter, your place in society matters and you’re not alone.