How many people do you think suffer or fight with a mental illness?
According to these numbers and statistics the chances that you know someone with a mental illness is pretty high. And you may think: No way, none of my friends or family have anything like that but when you look at the statistics it says only 25% of people who fight a mental illness feel like people around them are compassionate and understand. So for every four people they may open up to, only one of them will make them feel okay about what they have said.
Think about that for a second.
If you don’t fight a mental illness, imagine trying to tell someone something about you that is so crucial to your existence and autonomy and being rejected or told it’s all in your head. And for every four people you talk to, only one of them will truly accept what you’re saying. It would kind of make you bottle things up more don’t you think? And bottling things up is very rarely the best thing to do in any situation. You’re bound to explode.
This all comes back to awareness. Let’s talk about AIDS for a second. It’s a terrible thing, and the majority of people know about it in most of the world. In 2013, there were 35 Million people living with AIDS worldwide. That’s a HUGE number. 35 million people suffering from a disease like AIDS is an astonishing number. But what about something like, say, depression?
Any guesses? According to one of the statistics that links to The World Health Organization the number is even more astounding. It’s not double the amount of AIDS, or even triple. In fact you would have to multiply the amount of people with AIDS by ten to get the amount of people that suffer from depression worldwide. In 2012 there were 350 Million people living and fighting depression worldwide. That’s a good chunk of the world population who fights a specific mental illness. That’s just one of them. So why don’t we talk about it more than we do? Why is this still a taboo subject when something like AIDS isn’t?
This needs to be talked about more. So people who fight feel more comfortable with it and so those who don’t have it can be an aid to those in their difficult times. I talked a little bit about empathy in my last blog post and it goes both ways. I promise you that if you were to help someone fighting and make them feel more comfortable they would never forget it. Who knows, you could save a life. This also makes me think of a quote by the late Robin Williams, who I will be talking about in the future who tragically lost his fight to depression late last year.
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”
Your closest friends could be fighting. Be aware. Be compassionate. Be understanding.
You are loved.