Mental illness is not a weakness. Still, there is a universal belief among people that those people who struggle with mental illnesses are people who are mentally, emotionally, or even physically weak. This is not true.
But sadly, this belief is so pervasive that many people fail to see that they unknowingly attach a stigma to mental illnesses. They falsely assume that emotionally and mentally strong people can’t suffer from mental illnesses.
However, the truth is that many people who struggle with mental illness are individuals who are very mentally strong. Moreover, the strongest and toughest people I’ve ever met in my life are those who battle depression or secondary conditions to tinnitus on a daily basis. It takes a great deal of strength to face and manage a mental illness on a daily basis. It’s like fighting an invisible war within oneself, constantly battling against intrusive thoughts, intense emotions, or other symptoms.
And those people who don’t understand this, don’t understand mental illnesses.
And the problem is that mental illnesses are treated differently than physical illnesses.
For instance, when someone is battling cancer, no one says that it is because they are not physically strong. Instead, they look at possible reasons like diet, genetics, immune system, or the environment. And while it is a fact that getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly can prevent many health issues, there are certain conditions that cannot be prevented one hundred percent.
Or, no one has ever questioned the commitment to a healthy lifestyle and a diet of a fitness coach who eats healthy and exercises daily but yet somehow experienced a heart attack.
Why can’t the same be applied to those with mental illnesses? Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of talking negatively about someone who gets hospitalized for depression or anxiety and labeling them as being lazy and weak, we all appreciated their bravery and applauded their strength?
It’s time to see people battling with mental illnesses as strong and even stronger than those who don’t have those issues. Just like a person with diabetes can be physically strong, a person suffering from depression can still be very mentally strong.
We need to talk about mental strength more and become more aware of what it means to be mentally strong. Because mental strength is not something which can be found only in perfectly healthy individuals who don’t have mental health problems.
It is a final time to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illnesses once and for all. That way, those who struggle with mental illness can be encouraged to seek help without feeling ashamed or fearing being judged.