Mental illness was a topic that wasn’t as easily understood from the beginning of time. It was associated with the supernatural for the longest time, and was also believed to be a sign of witchcraft or black magic. So, those patients were either shunned, locked up or subjected to painful ‘treatment’ option that would result in death in most scenarios. In a way, we have, as a society made huge strides forward in getting mental illnesses recognized as a valid health concern that needs to be talked about. Millions of people suffer annually with various forms of mental illnesses, and are able to get the support they need to feel better.
However, there are still people who treat mental illness like it isn’t relevant. Jokes are often made at the expense of the person suffering from the illness, and in a lot of cases, their illness is used as synonymous to feelings in mainstream vernacular, like someone stating that “they are depressed” when they are actually sad, or that they are OCD because they like keeping things organized, not only does this belittle the patient’s actual experience, it also treats it as a joke or something normal.
Phobias also happen to be one of the most ridiculed illnesses. There are different forms of phobias ranging from the fear of heights, clowns, open spaces, certain sounds, the moon etc. If you want to learn more about different phobias, you can check out websites like Massive Phobia for more information. Now, majority of people who suffer from phobias are actually aware of how their fear is irrational, yet they cannot seem to be able to rationalize, so rather than making fun of them and taunting them by bringing their feared object in front of them, it is important for us to develop and be empathetic and understanding to them, sometimes a smile or a reassuring nod alone can be a lot of help without you even realizing it.