If you haven’t gathered already, mental illness is a sickness within the brain.
It makes sense that the initial symptoms of these diseases, start inside the mind; both physically and mentally.
Making it hard to notice & diagnose in the early stages, where the physically visual symptoms haven’t been in operation long enough to create suspicion. But just because someone can’t see mental illnesses tangibly, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Mental illness isn’t a lump or a discolouration of the skin; it’s a hormonal imbalance.
Our brains need hormones in order for us to implement prolonged changes and effects, and hormones are the messengers. These messages are arranged and organised by the body, and what it thinks we need. Especially in dire situations, such as when a rush of adrenaline comes in for strength in fight or flight scenarios. In the perfect world, us humans would hardly ever need to rely on our bodies for energy or hormonal boost ups, but life now for us includes numerous factors like work, school, and relationships that interfere. Thus causing lack of sleep, nutrition, fresh air, etc.. Besides this issue, hormones can’t be 100% on point for everyone all the time, there is going to be mess-ups sadly. All of this is normal, it’s when these chemical imbalances become too frequent and immense, that it can start to transform into symptoms of mental illness.
You can read a more scientific and probably accurate write up about hormones and mental illness here!
Unfortunately, the unseen and concealed aspect of mental illness also contributes to the existence of stigma and shame. When you have a broken leg, you can unbandage it and show everyone the physical damage; people are then able to say things such as “ouch” and have compassion for the situation. However, with a mental illness, it’s extremely difficult to easily pull out your brain and show the damage, unless you carry around your brain’s MRI scans. When people don’t have a visible wound, they are often unable to comprehend the extent of the injuries fully and therefore sympathise.
We are never going to be able to whip our brains out, so I’m not waiting for the day we can, and evidence is in plain sight for everyone to see. But what we can do is educate ourselves and those around us. Hit them with the hard facts of mental illness, they are sadly quite shocking. But, lastly looking after those who are around you, your family and friends. Open up the conversation about each other’s mental health, so that it is comfortable to speak about it when needed; since it is an illness that you can’t see.