Updated: Jan 28
When people think of mental illness, everything is over the top and extravagant. It’s psychotic crazy people, straight jackets and talking to themselves in corners whilst rocking. This is so incredibly wrong, and it’s time these stigmas and stereotypes are broken and shone some light on the truth.
Not all mental health issues shout and are ostentatiously in your face. It’s not all about graphic scenes and shocking images. Sometimes those of us who struggle the most are the quietest. The most reserved, introverted, withdrawn. Struggling doesn’t always overtly and obviously show itself to others around us, they can be very well hidden and concealed – which makes them all the more dangerous and life threatening.
OCD is a perfect example of this. At times people will have both obsessions and compulsions, you can visually see what they’re doing and that they are dealing with some issues. But then some have Pure O, which is OCD with the absence of compulsions. Meaning there are no outside indicators that this person has their struggles since everything is in their head. Does this mean they’re finding things less difficult? Not at all. At times, it’s pretty damn obvious I’m struggling, I look spaced out, I’m doing compulsions, my face is flushed, I’m tense all over. And others, I look seemingly normal, but on the inside, I’m internally screaming, analysing every step I take, trying to neutralise my bad thoughts/images, forcing myself to keep my anxiety at bay and under wraps.. it’s exhausting.
Sometimes the outward struggles can be easier to manage as all your pent up negative energy has a release of sorts, it’s showing itself on the outside and so we’re not bottling it all up. So it’s important to recognise both struggles are equal, and none generally are worse than the others. Mental health is about recognising and taking the quieter struggles seriously. People are more often than not, suffering in silence and they may be right next to you.
Be mindful of what you say and do, everyone could be battling something you don’t know about, and it costs nothing to be a decent person to all. Just because it doesn’t “look bad”, doesn’t mean it isn’t.