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Mental Illness Doesn’t Discriminate and We Can’t Always Recognize It

By: Ashley Nowak

When we think about mental illness we too often associate it with “those people;” people with serious, obvious issues. It is easier to believe if we can’t see it, then there is no problem.   

The truth is mental illness can affect anyone and the signs are not always obvious. Those suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, a trauma-related disorder, or an eating disorder, to name a few of the more common mental health issues, all have a huge spectrum of symptoms.  There are individuals who show obvious signs of mental illness. Avoiding friends and family, excessive and constant worry or sadness, and mood swings are clear red flags. Some may even be vocal about their symptoms, open and willing to share their struggles.

On the other hand, many people hide their illness very well. If you haven’t seen this video about What Having Anxiety Feels Like by Meghan Rienks, take the 3 minutes and 23 seconds to watch it. Like Meghan says, if her hair is curled and there is a smile on her face, no one would ever suspect she is living with intense anxiety.  It’s a good reminder to always be nice to others; you never truly know what someone is going through.

When it comes down to it, mental illness does not care if you are rich, poor, young, old, male, female, gay, straight, bi, tall, short, skinny, or fat. Anyone can fall victim to a mental illness and we may or may not be able to recognize it.

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