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We Are People Too

An essay about mental illness.

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We are people too.

I am so sick of the stigma of having a mental disorder. I am tired of having an anxiety attack when someone finds out about my bipolar disorder. So many people act like I'm going to go insane and hurt people around me, like I'm going to snap at any moment.

There are so many people out there who need help but are afraid to get it because they don't want anyone to know there is something 'wrong' with them. Is there something 'wrong' with people who are born with red hair? Sure they burn easier in the sun, but they have ways to prevent that from happening, just like people with mental disorders can take meds and get therapy to help them lead a 'normal' life.

It saddens me to think about how many people commit suicide or self-harm because they are afraid of the stigma of it all.

Here are some of the things I want to shout at people occasionally to get them to understand.

1. These three disorders are NOT the same thing.

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally.

Bipolar disorder is a disorder associated with mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Dissociative identity disorder (AKA Multiple personality disorder) is a disorder characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states.

I have seen so many movies and TV shows that get the symptoms of these three mixed up. How are we supposed to get people to understand that we are 'normal' people when someone can't be bothered to do proper research?

2. Having a mental disorder is not funny.

3. Having to deal with a mental disorder can be painful and confusing. Depression can cause actual physical pain as well as emotional.

4. No, we cannot "Just get over it."

5. People with depression cannot simply 'choose to be happy' just like you don't choose how many fingers you are born with.

6. Just because someone looks like they are fine on the outside doesn't mean they aren't in a lot of pain.

7. YOU CANNOT 'FIX' ANYONE! We are not 'broken', we just need understanding and empathy.

8. Self-harm is not an 'EMO' thing. It is not some sort of chosen lifestyle. It is a very serious problem.

9. Anxiety can be crippling. Keeping people from doing things they want or need to do.

10. There are no magic pills that help. It usually takes a few tries to get the types and dosages that are right for the individual.

11. Medication does not work for everyone.

12. Look it up! If you are curious about anything, there are myriad sources to consult. There is a boundless amount of literature about this subject, Google it. You could also consult a medical professional.

13. We are not contagious.

14. We do not choose to be depressed, or manic, or anxious. Why would anyone?

15. Self-harm and suicide attempts are not attention getting tactics, they are a cry for help.

16. It is very easy to feel utterly alone, even when surrounded by people who love you and care about you. Even when someone is holding you.

No one should have to feel embarrassed or inferior because of how they were born. Too many of us suffer alone in the dark. This is a rally cry. Let's get the information out there. Let's change the way the world sees us.

If you are one of the ones suffering in silence, just know this, you are not alone. There are so many people out there who understand what you are going through. We want to help. Please, search, look for a group on Facebook there are so many people who want to help. There are many groups for people like us that are closed so that you can vent without your family and friends seeing what you posted and the people in them are supportive and caring and are going through the very same things you do.

If you have read all the way through this, you are a beautiful person.

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