There’s an incredible stigma that comes with mental health. Stigma is synonymous with shame, disgrace, and humiliation.
There have been articles and Buzzfeed videos about how NOT to treat people with mental health problems. Yet, there is little on how to treat people with mental health disorders. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I have struggled with anxiety for 5 years so I do a little something.
- DO use the word “disorder.” Disorder is NOT a curse word. That’s what it is. For the longest time, I HATED using that word because that would mean admitting to having a problem. For the longest time, I convinced myself that it was all in my head (again, NEVER tell someone that. Please refer to previous rants). But when we don’t use the word disorder, we ourselves are helping the stigma. You can use “problems” or “issues,” as long as you’re not afraid to use the word “disorder.”
- DO do your research. One of my closest friends casually texted me about my anxiety and prefaced it with “I was googling anxiety and…” Let me tell you guys, that sent me over the moon! It means that she cares. It means that she wants to learn more and wants to do all she can to help me. Don’t assume you know what anxiety is. Read blogs from people who have dealt with it (like the one you’re reading right now). Go find some discussion boards. There are tons!
- DO ask questions. This one is a little trickier. Some people have not fully accepted it or fully understand their disorder themselves. But, if the person is comfortable with it, ask questions. Making assumptions is not okay. So if you don’t know, ask. And if you’re too afraid or unsure about asking, refer to number 2.
- Be there. I can’t do this alone. My anxiety takes a toll some days. Most days I want to stay in bed and never get up because I wake up an anxious mess. But, I get up because I have a savior who died for my anxiety and friends who love me no matter what.
I know I only talked about anxiety. But this applies for all mental health disorders. Depression. Schizophrenia. Bipolar. Social anxiety. All the things.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, which is today by the way, I will be taking time to share some personal stories of how I live life with anxiety and how I got out of depression (there’s a curveball for you). With this new series, Overcomer, I want to shed some light on mental health. I may also be sharing other’s stories. And if you have a story that you would like to share, a question you want to ask me without publicly putting it in the comments (I get that. Putting your business out there is scary sometimes), or simply want to say hi, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org