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January 20, 2015
By OurVoices PLATINUM, Merrimac, Massachusetts
OurVoices PLATINUM, Merrimac, Massachusetts
31 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are" - e.e. cummings

She wakes up at the crack of dawn and stares herself down in the mirror. She evaluates her body like a butcher, staring at the parts she needs to cut away; thinner thighs, skinnier arms, tiniest waist. She tries not to think about the fridge full of food downstairs that she cannot and will not eat. Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Every unexpected noise is like a gunshot to his nervous system. Every dark corner hides an enemy sniper waiting for the moment his back is turned. Sleep is not an option; his nightmares are filled with the screams of dying soldiers. One in three returning troops in the U.S. are diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Only 40% of them will reach out for help.

Dark thoughts cloud his mind every second of the day; I’m not good enough, I’m worthless, I don’t deserve to live. The world seems dull as if a thick blanket were muffling all of his senses. It’s impossible to drag himself out of bed just to face all of the endless problems that lie in wait outside. Clinical Depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population.

One in four Americans ages 18 and older suffer from diagnosable mental disorders in any given year. That translates to 57.7 million people. A fourth of our population is suffering, and yet there is a pervasive stigma about mental illness in our country today. Mental illnesses are widely viewed as something that people just need to ‘get over’. Many others are told that they are just ‘looking for attention’. A as a culture we brush mental illness under the carpet as if it were something too ugly to look at. Mental illnesses are taboo, people don’t talk about them and if somebody has the courage to mention that they have a mental disorder they are ignored or shunned as being ‘crazy’. Just today I was sitting in class and heard a fellow student seriously tell a teacher that she thought she might have depression. The teacher casually waved her hand and said, “Don’t worry about it, you’re probably just sad today.” Eating disorders, PTSD and Clinical Depression are three mental disorders among the many that are stigmatized by our society. Mental illness is a fact of life, a fact that over 26% of Americans deal with every single day, and a fact that is ignored by the rest of our society. It’s time to de-stigmatize mental illness.

The author's comments:

Every single person in my life that i love has a mental ilness or has been deeply affected by a person with a mental illness, but in today's society my friends and family would be looked down on and ignored if they talked about their disorders because of the parts of them that don't fit in with the seamless fabric of society. This is for all the people out there who feel like they aren't being heard; I hear you. 

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