let’s talk about being mental

I am incredibly frustrated.

After visiting my psychiatrist today, I was prescribed a new medication to deal with my current anxiety-induced insomnia. I’ve suffered from mild to severe forms of insomnia for a great deal of the past ten years. It affects my mood, which in turn affects my work, my relationships, and my general day-to-day activity. Insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “a persistent disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or both, despite the opportunity for adequate sleep.”

Given how important sleep is to one’s general life, it’s a pretty damn serious disorder to those who are afflicted. In fact, most mental issues are incredibly important issues to those afflicted. Here comes about the frustration mentioned earlier. On a multitude of platforms, I see posts that say things like “DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR WHO YOU ARE! BE CRAZY, BE UNSTABLE, BE EMOTIONAL AND DRAMATIC. THAT’S JUST YOU! REVEL IN YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS” and as a person who has been afflicted by a variety of mental conditions, I find this to be harmful. This overt “open-mindedness” comes as a retaliation to the years of shaming towards those with mental illness. When seeing a post like the aforementioned, the phrases “just smile” and “why can’t you just be happy?” come to mind; only this time, it’s on the other side of the spectrum.

Those with mental illness should be accepted, but mental illness itself should be seen as a problem persistent among the medium it inhabits. When we treat mental illness as run-of-the-mill, the treatment for those that need it become harder. When we stop trusting the legitimate expert opinions of those who have dedicated their lives to studying various forms of treatment for those with mental illnesses, we’ve bred a form of distrust in those that need help the most. When we accept mental illness as a “quirk” or some facet of our identity in which we must wallow about to assume some truer form, we’ve accepted that mental illness is not some treatable malcontent, but a part of ourselves that is irreplaceable. This frightens me. Every time I step into the office of a therapist or psychiatrist, I feel like my footing gets a bit looser, that my requests for help become a bit less sincere. This thought pattern is pervasive and those that truly need help aren’t the ones that need to hear or see it.