“You can’t have PTSD, you’ve never been in a combat zone.” “Calm down.” “You’re just stressed.” “We all get a little nervous sometimes.” “Everyone has anxiety.” “You’re really gonna start crying now?” “You can’t have depression, I’ve seen you smile and laugh.” “Chill out.” These are all quotes from Twitter users who have had to deal with demeaning comments regarding their mental illnesses, and they took to the internet to express their frustration. Diagnoses like depression, extreme anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and so many others are often treated with a certain trivial undertone; however, mental illness is a real issue that millions of Americans deal with, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

These types of issues are not the same as physical disabilities, however, they can be just as serious. Illnesses like depression and anxiety can range from highly manageable to debilitating. Medication can be prescribed to those who need it, but the problem doesn’t always go away with pills. People who suffer from clinical depression experience symptoms like loss of appetite (which can lead to weight loss), mood swings, inability to fall or stay asleep and  many others. Symptoms can appear to be small, but have the capability to be very serious. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression alone, discluding other mental illnesses like severe anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and so many others.

One common misconception is the belief that sicknesses like clinical depression are “all in your head” and they can be solved with simple things like going for a walk or exercising. Although physical exercise is known to minimize symptoms, mental illness is not a temporary emotion but rather a serious illness requiring a diagnosis and medical attention. Things can be done to improve symptoms, but there is no known cure. In our world today, the best thing we can do for those who struggle with these issues is provide them with enough resources to make these conditions manageable. Treating these illnesses seriously and providing mental health care to those who need it are two steps to helping people who struggle with these problems.

These illnesses are serious and should be treated as such, however it’s important to keep in mind that it was only recently that these issues came to light. Mental illnesses have always been around, but it seems like they’ve only recently become a topic of discussion. This means there is still a large amount of people who don’t understand them or how they work. Although these illnesses should be treated seriously, it’s important not to punish those who still don’t understand them. The only way we will move forward as a society is to educate the population of people who struggle to comprehend these issues, being sensitive and attacking those who are confused is not the way to move forward on this issue.

Serious illnesses like these are hard to deal with, and many people struggle with them. Fortunately, Keene State College has several resources available to those who need them. Counselors are available in the health center to talk to those who struggle and the staff and students are kind and accommodating. In the Elliot Center on the third floor, there are resources available to all students who need them; counselors and staff in the health care center work around the clock to provide the best care to the students of KSC. If any student is suffering with symptoms of any mental illness, I strongly recommend seeking the resources available with the counselors in the health center.

Overall, mental illness is a serious issue in our society, and there are lots of misconceptions about the struggles individuals deal with when they are diagnosed with these illnesses. They are just as serious as physical disabilities and resources should be made available to all who struggle.

Zoeann Day can be contacted at zday@kscequinox.com

Share and Enjoy !