Physical and Emotional Pain, what’s the difference? Aren’t they the same? Why do we treat them differently? These are questions I ask myself everyday.
Scraping our knees when we were younger felt like the world was ending. Breaking our bones felt like the world came apart and exploded. It’s simple logic to take ibuprofen and bandage it, right? We go see a doctor for suspected fractures and sprains to get it checked out. But when it comes to depression and anxiety, why do we dismiss it and tell ourselves we don’t need help? I never understood this logic. It’s kind of funny, actually. Me, being the clumsy piece of shit that I am, fell during my chemistry lecture and I couldn’t walk on my ankle AT ALL. Knowing I couldn’t function, I scheduled an appointment for the next day. However, I felt a little better the next morning because I iced my ankle the night before for a temporary fix. I wanted to cancel the appointment because I thought to myself, “Self, should I venture out across campus to see a doctor when I feel a little better already?” But I thought, I might as well go just for the hell of it; so I did. As it turns out, it was a sprain and I’ve never sprained my ankle before, so that was a first. I was given instructions on how to care for it, etc. so that I could heal properly.
But when it came to dealing with depression, I put off the doctor visit for so long that it became severe. I had full blown anxiety attacks at work, school, home — it was unbearable. I pictured my funeral every waking moment and different ways I wanted to die whenever I was left alone with my thoughts. I drank shots of alcohol whenever I had the chance up to the point where I was crawling on the floor — I was a house that caught on fire, then destroyed by a hurricane, and infested with termites all at once. I couldn’t recognize who I was anymore. This went on for months until my mother found that something was CLEARLY wrong with me. So, I saw help but it was against my will. I went to long psycho-therapy sessions and was prescribed 3 different anti-depressants. This went on for two years or so. Having gone through something as awful as depression was a lesson: you’re definitely NOT weak when it comes to seeking a professional for mental illnesses. This sense of pride that we’ve all internalized is a detriment to our well-being. You see, because here’s the thing. Depression is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, and it needs to be stabilized. Otherwise, you’ll eventually feel like the only solution to your misery is death. And you know damn well killing yourself isn’t the answer. So just like physical injuries, mental illnesses need to be treated. We as people need to be aware of our minds and bodies; the slightest sign of a symptom needs to be checked out regardless of whether you feel like it is minor or not. We need to eliminate the social stigma that comes along with anti-depressants and therapy. Mental illness is JUST as crippling as a broken limb. Don’t take it lightly.