In Belgium, suicide is the biggest cause of death among young people between the age of 20 and 25.
Now let that sink in. Most people of my age die because they end their own lives? What the actual fuck? That was my initial reaction when I learned about this fact. But when I really think about it, it isn’t that crazy at all.
It’s not easy to admit, but yes, I struggle with my mental health. Surprise surprise. To be honest, it’s something I battle with on a daily basis. And in our society it’s not easy AT ALL to struggle with this. Most people still don’t realize that this has become a huge problem. Although there have been initiatives like Red Nose Day that try to raise awareness. Or like Lady Gaga and Prince William having a chat on Facebook about mental health. But raising awareness is just one part of the whole thing: we need to make people understand what it means to struggle with mental health.
I don’t very often tell people about my issues because of two reasons: it’s not acceptable to be “sad/troubled” and a lot of people simply can’t understand what you’re going through. That may result in ignorant comments. The thing about these comments is, most of the time people would ask me continuously to tell them what was going on. In let’s say 50% of these situations, from the moment I decide to open up, I get confronted with comments like “just get over it”.
And honestly, something that hurts even more, is when someone knows about your struggle and doesn’t even take it into account. I go through mood swings all the time, and I warn people for them. I’ve made it my priority to make it clear to people that I’m not always that smiley, cheered up person who I usually am. I can’t begin to tell how much it affects me when I get accused of acting “weird” or “overreacting”.
Sometimes I just CAN’T believe how ignorant people can be. Comments like these push people even deeper into their problems, because you’ll be giving them the feeling that it’s all on them. That they are making themselves sad and miserable. Eventually they stop telling people about their problems, and from that point on anything can happen. When will people realize what the consequences are of their words and actions?
When the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” released some time ago, everybody was talking about it. Suddenly everybody thinks it’s horrible that there are people going through depression or thinking about ending their lives. They judge the words and actions of characters in the series. But let me ask a real bold question here: are you behaving any beter than some of these fictional characters?
Of course, we all think that everything we say or do is innocent, but let’s face it: IT IS NOT. Everything you say or do could have an impact on someone for the better or for the worst.
We all make mistakes. But if we start being aware of these issues from now on, we can make a difference. It’s okay to not be okay. And even though you maybe don’t always understand how someone is feeling, at least TRY. Just don’t be a fucking asshole. Let’s make it acceptable to talk about your issues and struggles. Let’s make it acceptable to feel miserable or sad. We need to be able to have a conversation about mental health without being judged. We’re only human, and we go through many more emotions than just “happy”.