Imagine you are living in a village in Cambodia rural area. You saw your neighbor talking about a man who has a mental illness but they called him “Ckhout” which means crazy.
Isn’t it unusual how we as a person with humanity can never understand enough about mental illness?
I was born in a rural area and whenever I saw a person with mental illness I was educated to call them crazy, mad, and insane; which all these insulting words can sound even worse in the Khmer language. This round in English literacy the truth had been revealed. I get exposed to the real world and understanding even more about mental illness. When it comes to these terms most people think about “Depression”. Yes, I agree depression is one type of mental illness because we define mental illness as “A condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behavior or thinking.” There are different mental illnesses such as mood disorders including depression or bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia).
Back to my introduction of how people called these mental illness people crazy. This word Crazy counted as a stigma. In the first week, our facilitator taught us about stigma and the myth about mental illness vs reality. Stigma is the discrimination or negative attitude that society has toward the person who is living with mental illness. Stigma can be a serious problem for those people because it can discourage them from asking the help they need from family and friends. My facilitator told my whole class as we sat down to listen quietly and passionately due to the most inspiring topic, “Stigma is not just a matter of using the wrong word or action. Stigma is about disrespect.” This word changed my whole life. I became more aware of the world, I stop using myth as a big reason to believe in but instead, I believe in science because the only way to stop stigma is to challenge myths with data and scientific knowledge. The past few weeks we scheme through some of the most famous literature stories that are related to mental illness such as The tell-tale heart, the black cat, the yellow wallpaper, and Alicia. These stories were written to show how mental illness can get worse and in the story, Alicia’s mental illness can even kill an innocent soul.
I believe that the people who are broken and has a mental illness can also be the person who has been fighting through life but at a point, they gave up and we shouldn’t blame them for that because at that point they had no more self-controlled, the soul had died long before then. We should start raising awareness and take action about what we can do to help them at our best.