Understanding mental illnesses

Taylor Scallon, Beginning Journalism Writer

One of the most un-talked about conditions that affects a large portion of our population is mental illness. A mental illness is defined as any disorder or health condition that influences the change in a way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and/or relates to others in their surroundings. The difference between a mental and physical illness is that a mental illness takes place inside one’s mind and a physical illness takes places inside one’s body, and the symptoms are shown physically. Mental illnesses are not getting enough recognition because we are less likely to notice the way an illness is affecting someone if there are no physical symptoms being shown.
It is hard to understand how a life changing illness affects someone’s life if we are not seeing any physical affects. If someone walks down the hallway, they might see a freshman who is currently in crutches and attends physical therapy twice a week. What if mental illnesses were compared to and treated like physical illnesses? Metaphorically speaking, a family member who was born blind, suffered from clinical depression. A classmate who recently broke their leg is suffering from bipolar disorder. The cashier working at the grocery store this morning who doesn’t have a right hand, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. If only we were able to see brains functioning in a physical way, maybe it would be easier to comprehend that all types of illnesses should be treated equally.

I may not speak for all, but from I do speak from experience. Those who suffer from mental illnesses don’t want sympathy. We simply want people to understand that mental illnesses affect a large portion of the population, and to realize their words and actions before you act upon them. Mental illness are real and aren’t to be pushed aside and made insignificant. Someone wouldn’t tell another person in a wheelchair to simply try to stand up and walk, so why tell someone with depression to simply be happy or think positively.