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Oct 2014
There's this stigma that being mentally ill isn't equivalent to being physically ill.
And I just wonder how can that be, because they both seem like a sickness to me.
Who taught you that a chemical imbalance in the brain is the medical way to say that you're insane?
Who taught you that being too tired to will yourself out of bed is only  because you're lazy?
Who taught you that having mixed emotions essentially means you're crazy.
Who taught you that starving yourself because you think you look fat is seeking for attention.
Who taught you that you're exaggerating if you say you have depression.
Who made you so blind that you couldn't see all the struggling people around you.
Simply because mental illness isn’t as easy to spot as something like the flu.

Because you can't see it and because you can't catch it, it doesn't mean that it's not there.
I mean you can't see or touch it but would you say there's no such thing as air?
You can't see it or touch it but would you say there isn't wind.
And if you are a believer you can't see God or touch him but you still believe he exists.
So then why do you need evidence and proof to think that mental illnesses are real issues.
Why do you think it's people over exaggerating, what if it happened to you.

Mental illness is so common but it's treated as if it’s some rare disease.
It’s in your friend groups, your household, your school, all around but unseen.
A major problem for the LGBTQ plus.
Yet people always question why they’re making such a fuss.

When you are bullied and assaulted for who you love and how you dress, it’s no wonder this leads to unmanageable stress.

Why do you have to have a bad cold or a stomach bug to be sick enough to skip school?
What if waking up in the morning takes all the energy out of you?

But no, cause it can't be seen, it's not a valid excuse.
But oh, when it leads to death then you wonder how you never knew,
how you could tell or why they never even tried to come to you for help.
And some even say it was a dumb thing to do because there were people willing to help all around you.

But it's not that easy to know when you can reach out and not be treated like a freak.
You just can't tell these days when your mental health issue will be treated seriously.
And that's because we talk about these afflictions like jokes in our lives every day.
We use them so casually, we don't realize the full impact of what we say.

When you jokingly say, "**** me now," because you're a little stressed
And when you jokingly say that you're so depressed you just want to go home and cut.
Someone around you might be thinking the same thing except they're serious.
When you tell your buds to toughen up because men don't cry,
They have no one to reach out when everything is going wrong in their lives.

They put on a mask to live their life,
They pretended to be happy to hide their strife.
Putting on a smile to cover their tears.
Making jokes to hide their true fears.

Just because my physical body seems to be working fine,
doesn't mean that I feel okay in my mind.
Because you can't see where I'm hurting or where the pain is,
doesn't always mean that I'm fine.
And even though you might not see it, mental illness is still there.
And it should be treated that way or the stigma that it's not real will always be here.
Michelle Nyamekye
Written by
Michelle Nyamekye  Canada
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