I’m fed up of people shaming mental health

Don’t tell me to stop being ridiculous


In the past month, media coverage of mental illness and its effect on people’s lives has been extensive. The BBC dedicated a whole week of programmes to the topic and many celebrities have come forward to share their stories in order to raise awareness of increasingly common yet misunderstood conditions.

The most commonly quoted statistic about mental illness in the UK is that one in four people will be experiencing a mental health condition at any given time, the most common conditions being depression and anxiety.

However, the Huffington Post recently revealed that 44 per cent of the people surveyed in The 2014 Health Survey for England had experienced mental illness at some point in their lives, the vast majority before they turned 25.

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With the ever increasing media coverage and prevalence in society, you would imagine that ignorance concerning mental illness would be getting, however sadly this does not seem to be the case.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was at secondary school.  I have received counselling over the years and currently take a small dose of antidepressants that for the most part help me cope.

Just like with any physical illness, I have good days and bad days. On the good days I go to my lectures, train with the UMC Pom Squad and go on nights out like anybody else. But on the bad days I get so anxious about leaving my bedroom that simply getting dressed and walking to Sainsburys is an achievement.

Due to family illness and issues within my house, over the past semester my condition has gotten significantly worse to the point where I have interrupted my studies and have moved home.

I also decided to drop out of a tenancy agreement for next year due to situations within the house causing undue stress. I told my former housemates-to-be of the situation and had expected a general reply of ‘get well soon’.

Instead I was attacked by messages accusing me of being ridiculous and using my health problems as a way of getting out of my responsibilities.

It’s 2016. People need to stop treating mental illness as overreacting or making excuses. It isn’t a choice, it’s an illness.

In the exact same way a lack of effective insulin causes high blood sugar and diabetes, an imbalance of chemicals in the brain causes mental illness. The stigmas society and individuals place on mental health conditions just makes it harder to recover and attacking someone for something they cannot control makes it impossible.