Mental Disorders: Why ‘Just Try To Be Happy’ Is Not the Answer

Mental illness is not something you can just tell someone to get over. “Just try to be happy,” “Why are you depressed?,” and “You have nothing to be depressed about” are never proper responses to a person with a mental health illness. Mental illness is a problem in America.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults in the United States will experience mental illness in a given year—43.8 million. Approximately, one in 25 adults in the United States will experience a serious mental illness that could interfere with their work or their everyday life. One in five youth (aged 13 to 18) individuals will experience a severe mental disorder in their lifetime.

Mental disorders can be broken down into several types, and then several disorders:

  1. Anxiety and Panic Disorders—

As the name says, anxiety and panic disorders lead to anxiety or panic attacks. These disorders can be broken down into generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and panic disorder. These can be further broken down into Stage Fright, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and your everyday, common phobia (WebMD). 18.1% of adults in the United States have experienced an anxiety disorder (NAMI).

2. Bipolar Disorder—

The most common symptoms for bipolar disorder are unpredictable mood swings. The bipolar disorder consists of: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Rapid Cycling, Mixed Bipolar, Cyclothymia, and Bipolar Spectrum (WebMD). According to NAMI, 2.6% of adults within the United States live with bipolar disorder.

3. Depression—

Unfortunately, depression is very common among the population. Depression can be broken down into several disorders, which include: Chronic Major Depression, Dysthmia, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Postpartum Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Psychotic Depression, and Substance-Induced Mood Disorder. Chronic Depression, alone, impacts more than 350 million individuals worldwide (International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression).

4. Eating Disorders—

Eating disorders can cause serious long-term consequences if the situation is not addressed early on. The three main types of eating disorders are: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder (WebMD). Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness, according to Eating Disorder Hope.

  5. Schizophrenia—

Symptoms of schizophrenia could be hallucinated thoughts and delusions. This includes: Paranoid Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Brief Psychotic Disorder, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, and Shared Psychotic Disorder. According to NAMI, 1.1% of adults in the United States live with schizophrenia.

    6. Substance Abuse and Addiction—

This can vary from alcohol abuse to any sort of drug addiction. According to NAMI, 20.2 million individuals in the United States experience a substance-use disorder. Over half of those individuals have a co-occurring mental disorder.

The impact of mental illnesses onto youth. Source: National Alliance of Mental Illness

The impact of mental illnesses onto youth.
Source: National Alliance of Mental Illness

These are merely just a few disorders that are present in our society today. As mentioned before, mental disorders are a serious issue. Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes them as what they are.

In 2014, an article was written by Jamie Berube on, “10 Reassuring Things Every Person With A Mental Illness Wants To Hear”. These 10 things could still be relevant in 2016 when you speak to your friend, child, co-worker, significant other, or anyone you know who has a mental disorder.

These 10 things were:

  1. "You’re not alone in this."
  2. "You are important to me. You matter to me and so do your feelings."
  3. "Will you let me help you?"
  4. "You are not going crazy."
  5. "If you are going crazy, [then] I want to go crazy with you."
  6. "You will survive this experience. And when it’s over, I will be here and so will you."
  7. "This does not define you."
  8. "You did not ask for this or bring this on yourself."
  9. "Be kind and gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can."
  10. Funny stories.

There is a mental illness stigma out there today. No one realizes the severity of it and how truly prevalent it is in society. Help end the stigma to mental illnesses and remember, it’s not something they can just smile about when you ask them to.

RYSE up for the individuals who cannot put a smile on their faces even when they want to, for the individuals who are starving on the inside but cannot get themselves to eat a meal, for the individuals who have an addiction that they want to break, for the individuals who live in constant anxiety and panic, and for the individuals who everyone calls “crazy” but can’t do anything about it.



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