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Common Misconceptions About Mental Illness Everyone Should Abandon

Common Misconceptions About Mental Illness Everyone Should Abandon

Stigmas related to mental health are a real issue. They still exist all over the world. In America alone, there are about 8 million people struggling with severe mental illness. Of those, only about half are treated and most face long term battles with mental health. Just as the cyclist in the featured image of this article misjudged his jump, many people still have misconceptions about mental illness.

But why fight these mental health stigmas?

Fear of discrimination and the attached stigmas often keep people and their families from facing mental health problems. This creates a regressive effect. It keeps those in need from seeking help, and to put it lightly, this is very problematic.

Mental health is as important as proper physical health. Access to treatment and issues with insurance coverage can also be a barrier to seeking treatment. Mental health treatment should be viewed similarly to how physical ailments are addressed.They often times go hand in hand.

Be a voice of reason by advocating mental health. Doing so starts by comprehending some of the misconceptions that are unfortunately still present in society. The following misconceptions and myths about mental illness must be reversed, and we can all do our part through self-education and communcation!

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People Can Recover From Depression or Anxiety Disorders With Prescription Drugs Alone

While certain prescription drugs can certainly aid in overcoming a lot of mental illnesses, they are by no means a comprehensive cure. Therapy and counseling are just as important and offer many crucially essential benefits to those with mental illnesses.

People may make claims such as: “Counseling, therapy, and self-help are a waste of time. Don’t bother with all of that when you can simply take a pill.”

This is definitely not true. Prescription drugs can be taken in addition to, not instead of, therapy and counseling.

Additionally, self-care is often times one of the true roads to combating mental health issues. Take a look at the photo below for a relevant quote on self-care.

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    Image courtesy of Social Work and Self Care infographic by Case Western School of Applied Social Sciences

    Those Struggling With Mental Illness Can Simply “Pull Themselves Out of it”

    For some reason many people are under the impression that those with mental illness are simply lazy or faking it. This is not only insensitive, it’s downright incorrect. People do not want to have a mental illness. It’s not a crutch, it’s a deeply intricate burden on a person’s overall health.

    It’s not easy to get past, hell, it’s not easy to even come to terms with having a mental health issue in the first place. Those affected need our help and support, not shameful or belittling words.

    Related: A Comic That Shows What It’s Really Like To Live With Depression And Anxiety

    Those Who Are Mentally Ill Can’t Hold Down a Job or Properly Take Care of Themselves and Their Families

    This is sometimes true in regards to more severe forms of mental illnesses that exist. But the majority of the people suffering from mental health disorders are able to meet their work requirements and keep up with their responsibilities. They are also able to satisfy the needs of those around them including their family and close friends. They have social lives, they function at work and school. Since so many people with mental health issues seem fine from an outsider perspective, sometimes even their family members and those closest to them do not realize how much they are truly hurting.

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    Children Don’t Experience Mental Illness

    Very young kids can show early signs of mental illnesses. Often times mental illnesses in children are a byproduct of their upbringing and home life, but not always.

    It’s unfortunate to know that less than 20% of children and adolescents with mental health problems are able to get necessary treatment. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other needs related to development.

    People With Mental Health Problems Are Typically Violent And Unpredictable

    Those with mental illnesses are not more violent or dangerous than the rest of the population.

    They are, however, more likely to harm themselves, or to be harmed by others such as police, peers, coworkers, etc.

    People with mood and anxiety disorders can still be violent, but realistically so can anyone. It’s not fair to place blame on something like status of someone’s mental health when comparing to criminal behavior.

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    In fact, police forces typically don’t take mental health into account. They usually don’t have proper training and misinterpret encounters with people who have mental illnesses. This creates a ripple effect which makes citizens believe that there is a negative/criminal quality possesses by those who aren’t mentally stable.

    In reality, police officers don’t know how to deal with these issues, so they simply criminalize what they don’t understand.

    Next time you hear someone refer to a person with a mental illness as ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ it is completely justifiable to point out that it is not alright to use such shaming language. It is important to question how using those kinds of harsh words can segue into negativity and breed generalizations that are frankly not true.
    What other misconceptions are out there? Have you faced these yourself or witnessed them in your lifetime? Share your stories below to help educate the readers of this post.

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    Robert Parmer

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on June 26, 2019

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    Hating life is a bit of a misnomer it seems: in the media, in education, in every aspect of our lives, we’re shown visions of a perfect world, one where everyone is happy and life is a decades-long dream. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

    Life can and is hard and tough and painful at times. I have first-hand experience of this: at this time years ago, I was a recent university graduate, unemployed and aimless. All of this was having a knock-on effect on my social and mental wellbeing—I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t seeing my friends as often. I was snappy to family members and I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning…

    That doesn’t mean it can’t change.

    Life goes through ebbs and flows all the time and the key to getting through it all without cutting off your social circle and eating your local grocery store out of Ben & Jerry’s, is to cultivate some techniques and methods of going through life with some stability and grace. It’s not a guarantee against life’s hardships but, take the steps you want to use and you won’t hate life.

    If you want to stop hating your life and start falling in love with it, take these steps:

    1. Get Plenty of Sleep

    Seriously, you’re obviously going to be grouchy and more inclined towards the more miserable side, if you’re not getting your recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night.

    Start checking in how much you sleep and then start making steps to go to bed earlier and sleep for longer. It might cure every problem but at least you’ll be well-rested and less likely to nap throughout the day. If you having trouble getting to sleep, go and

    2. Eat Healthily

    I have had a real issue with eating healthily for years and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised a few years ago (for a condition unrelated to my eating for the sake of disclosure), that I really started to look at what I ate and how I viewed my body.

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    I’m absolutely an advocate of body positivity and loving your body at any size and while I haven’t lost any huge amount of weight, eating a hell of a lot healthier improved my mood and made me feel better.

    In short, it’s absolutely okay to have a pizza and a soda as a treat, but just have something healthier tomorrow.

    3. Write It All Down

    Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all out. Keeping things that are making you hate life all bottled up is neither helpful to getting out of that cycle nor healthy for your overall wellbeing.

    Grab yourself a notebook, a journal, a diary, a bit of paper, whatever, and just start writing down how you feel. As soon as you’ve done that, start thinking about what you could do in theory to stop this from happening or to stop you from feeling like this.

    4. Get Some Fresh Air

    It’s underrated and we all take it for granted, but really, getting out of your home and going for a walk can be really beneficial. It gets you outside in the (hopefully) sunshine and getting to see the whole of life as you walk around can be really grounding and calming.

    Believe me, if you’re stuck inside mulling over on the bad things of your life, grab a pair of sneakers and go for a walk. Plus, it’s free. Can’t say better than that, can you?

    5. Get Some Exercise

    This is practically a Part II of the previous step, but as someone who used to look at the gym as something people did when they were feeling particularly masochistic, I can actually say I enjoy it now.

    You don’t even have to subscribe to a fancy gym—go for a run around the block with your headphones in or lift some heavy boxes to build up muscle tone.

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    Bonus: Doing all that heavy lifting of boxes or incorporating exercise into chores will make your house cleaner and look even more awesome, as well as making you look and feel better.

    6. Treat Yourself

    Hating your life can be exhausting, and I mean that literally. It drains the energy from you until all you want to do is lie in bed with a pint of ice cream and the last five seasons of a TV show on Netflix.

    Therefore, a good thing to keep your spirits up can be to treat yourself.

    Life is too short, after all, to deny yourself some treats. Go see that movie that looks awesome in the cinema, grab a gelato with a friend, paint your nails, whatever makes you happy, do it. You deserve it.

    Here’re more ideas to inspire you: 30 Ways To Treat Yourself No Matter What

    7. Cut out Those Negative Triggers

    Chances are that if you hate life, something is setting off those triggers in your head. Until you’re able to deal with them without turning all misanthropic, the best thing might be just to get rid of all of those negative triggers.

    If you’re suffering from what AllGroanUp refer to as “Obsessive Comparison Disorder” (i.e. obsessively checking out the lifestyles of all your “successful” friends), then stop using Facebook and Twitter as much.

    Social media can be a fantastic way to connect, but it can be also be a toxic environment for neuroses and comparisons to breed.

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    Trust me, I know. If it sets you off, cut it out.

    8. Dance

    Yes you can dance. No, really, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re not some breakdancing dynamo or ballroom extraordinaire, everyone can dance. It’s programmed into the human race, the ultimate expression of emotion.

    Dance like no one’s watching, dance like you don’t care. Tap your feet, sway your hips, go as mad or as wild as you want to to your favourite songs. Nothing quite shakes the cobwebs off than losing yourself in rhythm and dance to a song you love.

    9. Get Organized

    A great way to start moving forward and looking at what you can change in your life to make it better, is to get organized.

    Spend a weekend going through your home and clearing the unnecessary stuff out of it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need or don’t want anymore and start to give everything a space.

    It doesn’t have to look like it’s stepped off the pages of Good Housekeeping, but clearing a lot of space and making sure that your home has a bit of harmony can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

    10. Pay It Forward

    Life is a mystery and it can be a minefield to get through. Sometimes you stumble, sometimes you fall. The important part is to pick yourself back up and keep walking forward.

    Paying it forward is simply helping others. Charity is something that is often thrown around as an accessory to human behavior—how many celebrities have you read about who have done something heinous, but are defended by the phrase “but [they] do charity work”?

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    Go volunteer! If you think you’re at breaking point, go help other people.

    People in the world out there will be going through the same things that you are going through; and while you might not run into someone who’s going through the exact same circumstances, you will be helping people who need help.

    Helping out a soup kitchen, or at a church bake sale, or at a homeless shelter or wherever needs help, can make a huge difference to the lives of those individuals involved. And believe me, it’ll do a hell of a lot for your state of mind .

    A great idol of mine, Audrey Hepburn, once stated that we have two hands: one for helping ourselves, and one for helping others. That’s a fantastic sentiment and one I think will help people who hate their live.

    If you go and help other people, you’re having such a positive ripple effect on the world that some of it will come back to you one way or another, and it will get better.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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