Mental Illness Should Not Be Treated As a Joke

Nicole Kalpin, Staff Writer

“Florida weather is so bi-polar.”

This is a common use of the term that I’ve heard over the years. As a person growing up with a parent that suffers from bi-polarism, hearing this aggravates me.

Both bi-polar disorder and depression are seen as a joke by many people. Depression is a period of time in which a person is feeling helpless, does not want to do anything, they feel unimportant, and in many cases can’t be explained for with a cause.

A solution isn’t simple either – it’s not something that someone can just “get over” overnight. Many people take anti-depressants, but they do not always work. Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is the series of mood swings that can vary greatly. People with this disorder can go from being very depressed to experiencing manic highs, unlike normal shifts in mood expericened by average people.

“I think that depression is a serious issue that students need to deal with, especially if their depression lasts for more than two weeks and they’re really entering a major depressive disorder. It’s something they really have to pay attention to,” said Mr. Gray, who teaches AP Psychology. “They should seek outside help, outside help from their friends especially if they start to lose the enjoyment of the activities that they normally enjoy. They have to find ways to get out of it. Depression is a cycle, so if you’re depressed, you don’t do the activities you normally would, which makes you even sadder. It just keeps building on itself.”

This mental illness often affects people in their late teens and older. It’s an illness that lasts for the rest of the patient’s life. Although the person may not always show the symptoms, the illness is always there.

According to Mental Health America, an average one out of five teenagers are clinically depressed.

My mother has been diagnosed as bi-polar and depression. These mental illnesses affects both the person and those around them. Since I am the only other person living in the apartment, it is my job to take care of the both of us when she’s not doing well. It takes quite a toll on the two of us, both mentally and physically.

“You have no life,” said my mom. “Being sad all the time, and having manic attacks can not only ruin your life, but the rest of the family. It affects everybody.”

Over the years, I have had friends that suffered from depression as well. It hurts my soul to see them like that and being unable to really do much to help. The fact that people make fun of depression and tell others to just “get over it” aggravates me to no end. Mental illness is not something to be making fun off. There are more types of mental illnesses out there that people all over should be made aware of.

“It’s always been kind of hard, making new friends and adjusting,” said senior Unique Jones. “One second I’m happy, and at the flip of the mind everything just tumbles down. I’m just extremely out of it and depressed and crying. Someone just says, ‘Oh, your hair is nice today,’ and I am just overly emotional. I tend to withdraw from society a lot, I usually just go into my room and hide most of the time.”