“He started breathing heavy like he was going to make himself hyperventilate.”
I listened to my friend explain a difficult coworker and how they have bad anxiety. All I could think about was the time I hyperventilated while I was in the service, and how they probably talked about me the same way my friend is…making it sound like it was on purpose. I was a little annoyed to be honest, and sad that this kid does not have the support from their job, then paranoid that people talked negatively about my events.
Let’s be real, in America you are considered useless unless you can work. People judge you based on your job performance more so than your personality or life situation. Even though we all go through stuff, companies can’t profit off of those that have mental illness’. I get it, money has to be made, but why do we have to be such assholes about it? What can we do to improve both situations, the job and the person?
Could we end the stigma?
An often politicized stereotype about people with mental illness is that they are violent or dangerous. However, a small minority of people living with mental illness commit violent acts. They are actually 10 times more likely to be victims of a crime, making them a vulnerable population we should be protecting instead of fearing.
So let’s start with fear by educating. Remember those guest speakers in high school and such? We could start there. Start at freshman level and continue every year.
To make change you must inspire change.
Mental illness is a serious issue and people need to know that it’s not ok and that we cannot assume someone was “trying to make himself hyperventilate”.
We are all just trying our best in an unforgiving world.
Article on mental health stigma: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mental-health-stigma#why-is-mental-health-stigmatized