Talking about mental disorders is usually frowned upon. It tends to be shamed and shunned by those who do not understand or do not have it. People who are diagnosed with mental disorders are stereotyped and given unrealistic expectations of how they should care and cure themselves. This leads the person with mental disorder to feel stigmatized and alienated. They feel pressured to either play the part of the ‘sick’ patient so that people believe that their illness is real, or to overcompensate and be overachievers so that they are not seen as ‘sick’.
Being sick is not always physical. Mental disorders are real and painful. Mental disorders are debilitating and disruptive. Not being able to be seen and believed, as a person with a mental disorder, limits their possibilities in the work place, schools and private life.
As an example, I offer this video of Emma Harrison from the University of Ottawa. She talks about her experience as a student who has a disability and a mental disorder. Her brutal honesty about her journey helps place in perspective the struggle students like her go through in spaces that choose to ignore her disabilities and mental disorder as real problems.