I think there's a definite difference in mental illness awareness since Chester Bennington's suicide. Or maybe I'm just more aware of it because he was such an integral part of my generation's childhood. Either way, I'm glad, because seeing posts like this image surface on social media reminds me of a time when I was in that exact state for nine years. Waking up and being disappointed that you're still alive - yeah. Imagine the confusion. It sucked.
But, as so many are now saying:
"It's time for this stigma of mental illness being an attention-seeking act or something that's just in your head to walk along."
Telling someone suffering from mental illness to just be happy is probably the worst thing that you could say to them. Obviously if the person could just be happy they would - who the hell would want to be sad all the time? Confusion.
The thing about mental illness is that it has become such a taboo to openly speak about. Don't just ask someone how their diabetes is going, ask them how their depression is going. Get them to speak about it. People go for years bottling it up - and then hit the bottle (or other fixes) as a coping mechanism. You'll be surprised as to how many people you know are experiencing some form of mental illness. Mental illness is not about being a looney- stop that! Mood disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, OCD, Schizophrenia - these are all forms of mental illness. There are plenty more. And people who suffer from these disorders are not weak.. Most times they're the strongest person you know.
Because he/she is fighting some sort of mental/psychological battle every single day.
But like with a lot of things in life it is really hard to understand something that you have not experienced for yourself. That's cool, all the person needs is for you to be there for them. I'm grateful that there are plenty of those around me. It's not always easy being around someone with a mental illness but I'm thankful to those who did it anyway.
By 2020 mental illness will be one of the major causes of death around the world, so let's take it seriously.
I'm not saying that you should start taking every sad person you know to the nearest therapist. Just take a moment to check up on them, chat to them, encourage them and talk about something that brings the both of you joy - and then watch that grim face light up. Don't feel sorry for them. Empathize with them but also be tough on them. Make sure that they're getting treatment. Diabetes doesn't cure itself and neither does mental illness.
And to mental illness sufferers; when you climb out of the dark pit make sure that you show love and appreciation to those who stuck by you through it all. Lord knows how painfully self-loathing and frustrating we can be. Also, listen to your friends when they tell you to seek medical assistance. And talk about your problems, it does not make you weak or vulnerable.
Here are some resources for those who need help or just need to to talk to somebody: