We live in a time where monumental changes are finally happening in our society. Movements focusing on women empowerment, cultural diversity, and gender equality are gaining a lot of support in bettering the lives of the oppressed. However, the most debilitating of all, oftentimes frowned upon or downplayed by society, is mental illness. Despite all the efforts to address and shed light on this matter, there are still a great deal of people who fall short of being compassionate and understanding towards the afflicted.
Mental illness is no laughing matter; it is complicated in nature especially the ever-changing environmental factors and developmental growth that contribute to the effect it has on an individual. The amount of people who are suffering from it is skyrocketing. Some have been in isolation for years, others are in denial, and most are on the end of the rope. Yet, there are still people out there who have the nerve to ridicule and dismiss their struggle, paralleling it to being overreacting or emotionally exaggerating about things that may appear simple to others.
Nobody is spared from experiencing challenges or life-altering circumstances, but we must be conscious of the reality that every person has their own way of coping with difficulties. Some may recover easily while there are a few who get consumed by it, but that doesn’t make them inferior or any less of a human being.
While no two situations are alike, when people are generally fighting a war in their mind, the world they live in feels and looks dark, empty, and terrifying. It’s difficult to see the good around you when you don’t even see the good in yourself. There are days when nothing makes sense, every little thing upsets you, people could easily get to you, and you feel resentful for no apparent reason. Self-esteem is on an all-time low, glimpses of joy feels undeserved, and the heartache seems to be the only thing that’s real. There are moments when it feels like everything you’ve worked hard for your entire life means nothing anymore. Sometimes, the very thought of being alive is both a blessing and a curse.
If people are having a hard time wrapping their heads around how the condition affects one’s outlook in life, that’s exactly how tough it is for people who are going through mental illness to explain what’s happening inside their world. It’s just impossible to encapsulate and accurately put into words something that is beyond human comprehension. But it’s not a reason to invalidate their feelings or to stray away from them, in fact, our mere presence is sometimes all they need to make them fight another day.
We cannot simply disregard or look down upon this issue because it has the power to take away the lives of people without warning.
Seeing the people I hold close to my heart go through the pain of this struggle and how it affected their relationships and the way they live, opened my eyes to the reality that it’s a condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We may not know exactly what it feels like to be in their shoes but we should choose to walk with them through the ebbs and flows of their journey no matter what it takes. They are the unsung heroes who constantly fight every waking day to face and conquer their fears and the least we could do is to let them know that we’ll hold their hand every step of the way.
To those who are fighting the invisible struggle, no matter what form your demons may take, you are entitled to grieve, smile, and heal at your own pace. Whether you’re going through depression, anxiety, or grief, keep in mind that the day will come when you no longer have to be consumed by darkness and sorrow. Find an outlet to express what’s in your heart, may it be through art, people, or nature. Somewhere along the way, you’ll regain your passions, discover untapped abilities, and ultimately find inner peace.
Above all, it’s always important to love and be kind to yourself.