Sea of life

Mental illness has come a long way from those saying that it’s just a phase. Yet despite the leaps we have taken, mental health is still subjected to stigmas and considered by some as taboo. What’s more concerning is the situation of being mentally ill and being a part of the LGBT community. It’s hard enough to live your life being depressed and anxious, not to mention if there’s the added challenge of dealing with two socially unacceptable phenomena: mental illness and being gay.

Others might say that there’s no difference between a depressed heterosexual and homosexual, but that’s untrue. The amount of negativity the LGBT community receives is alarming despite the efforts being made. Social media was even abuzz a few months back discussing teenagers coming out and soon ending their lives because of the harassment or pressure. Yes, there is respect and positivity but mostly, acceptance and validation is only limited to those who have the privilege and socially acceptable physical features.

Although it seems as if we’re far from winning these battles, are we really that far from enlightening everyone? In the past, if you say you’re depressed, you’re going to be laughed at and teased that it’s all in your head. Even today, there is still an alarming number of students committing suicide due to academic stress.  People still think that people with depression are too lazy to function while stating that you’re mental health still brings a lot of judgement.

Picture this: You’re in a family gathering. You are stressed from the academic burden that seems too much for a student to handle. You plan to come out to your family as you felt like you have the courage of the bravest lion in the world because you came out to your friends and they accepted you, so you think: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Everything, apparently. You come out during dinner, your father leaning in for a punch and your mother is silent and shocked in disbelief. You take the punch as well as all the harmful remarks your family gives you. As if the pressure of school wasn’t enough, they made you feel more worthless than you already did. Heartbroken, you run to your room crying your eyes out because everything is falling right before your eyes and it’s too overwhelming that you want it to stop. Completely.

You never know when someone might need that hand to hold on to

As depressing as it might sound, this happens more frequent than what the media portrays. Think of all the children, teenagers, and even adults who cower in fear of being disowned or shunned. It adds to the never-ending list of things you overthink at night which makes breathing just so tiring to achieve.

However, before anyone is trapped in this sad column, let me lighten things up a bit. As someone who has struggled with clinical depression and anxiety for almost over a year now, things may always feel like an endless spiral down but really, it’s disguised as something better. As rock bottom and helpless everything may seem, one can fly if one believes he can.

Open your eyes more and listen a bit more carefully for the cries of those who cannot be heard or seen. There are a lot, so keep your senses clean. Now is not the time to be passive especially when some of us are fighting themselves in the process. You never know when someone might need that hand to hold on to.

And for those that are having a hard time catching their breath from this drowning sea we call life, take it from the depressed and anxious person writing this column: It gets better. In some sort of way, you will be able to keep your head above the water.

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