Above is a comic strip of what would happen if we treated physical illness the same way we treat mental illnesses. As we all know, or as most of us know, both mental and physical illness can be serious and yet, physical illnesses are often treated as more important than mental. Both are serious, both needed to be treated and yet one isn’t taken seriously. But why?
It is believed that mental illnesses are not taken seriously because of the fact that they are invisible illnesses and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Because of this, it makes it harder for a person to believe whether or not a person is ill or not. With a mental illness, it is not “all inside of their head”. A person is not faking their illness in order to gain some sort of attention from someone around them. No, they actually do have the illness, whether it be bipolar, depression, anxiety, etc. they have something going on with their brains. It is these problems which are common misunderstood and make for an interesting topic. Now when a person is mentally ill and ends up in a hospital, you don’t see flowers and balloons sent in their directions, with well wishes and hopes of feeling better. No, the family tends to hide it from the rest of the world, not wanting them to know that this person, this one person in this household is flawed within their brain. It is a said truth that happens in many households and has been happening for many years. Years before, the mentally ill were locked up, hidden away from the rest of the world. They were classified as an embarrassment to the family. Perhaps, we still see it as that embarrassment factor.
Now lets compare that to when you break your arm and you get on a cast. When that happens, everyone rushes over just to sign it, making sure that they got their autograph on your cast. Sometimes, people send you flowers but there is empathy shown within your direction, people show that they care for you. It is something that most people do whenever someone breaks an arm. Same goes for the fact when a person is deathly ill, people show that same sort of compassion towards them, knowing that it is something that most people deal with in their lifetime. It is something that everyone shows. Yet people who have mental illness never receive this sort of love, they are commonly ignores and pushed aside.
But what if we stopped to think about how we treated the mentally ill and started to become a bit more accepting towards the illness in general. What if we decided to allow our hearts to open up towards them and listen to everything that we could offer towards them. Maybe a good place to start is to offer a listening ear and not pass any judgement on them, knowing that they deal with enough judgement as is. Also, send them some kind words when needed for you never know when those dark thoughts might be creeping up within their minds and trying to control. Be a friend to them and chances are, you would have a good friend for life.
Just remember, your brain needs just as much care as the rest of your body does, if not more.