Societal Toxins and the Stigma on Mental Health

We may see a number of psychological websites and blogs using the term “toxic people.” I actually have mentioned them in the entry, Anxiety and Being Attached. Toxic people are often referred to as the persons who are not good for your mental health, or most probably those who have been stigmatized by the term, “mental health.”

The word, “toxic” is the adjective form of the noun, “toxin.” According to, the term “toxin” is any poison produced by an organism. The word “organism” here pertains to animals, such as snakes and other venomous creatures, and even bacteria and viruses. This, in my opinion, pertains again to the physical realm of things.

For me, human beings are also capable of producing such toxins, in venues beyond the physical body. Moreover, society, being a group of human beings, can also produce other kinds of toxins which are also way beyond physiology.

Emotional Toxins

In my own definition, emotional toxins are those produced from overwhelming emotions. People experience them in a variety of ways.

Some of them are caused by outside factors like events, such as weddings, deaths, graduations, assassinations and others. Overwhelming emotions can also be produced from recreational activities like watching a movie, reading a novel or engaging in adventurous sports.

Even other people can inflict overwhelming emotions to another, depending on how they act towards a certain person.

These overwhelming emotions can have a variety of effects on a person. A person’s reaction and level of acceptance on these mostly depends on how often and how long the person has been exposed to such overwhelming emotions.

Depending on the positivity or the negativity of the overwhelming feeling and the person’s immunity over those kinds of feelings, they can eventually become emotional toxins, or the emotional poisons that may eventually result to depression, anxiety or other mental stresses.

Societal Toxins

Human beings are the fundamental elements in a certain culture and society. And as discussed earlier, each of those human beings has the ability to produce their very own emotional toxin. And those emotional toxins, when bound by certain commonalities, can collectively be termed as the societal toxins.

These societal toxins can again be positive or negative, depending on the beliefs of the society where they belong. When they are shared by a number of societies, I can say that they can be termed as universal toxins.

In my opinion, one of the world’s universal toxins nowadays is the stigma on mental health. And the people who have been infected by such toxins are now what we call the “toxic people.”

Toxic people

In Anxiety and Being Attached, I mentioned four kinds of people that may surround a person experiencing emotional distress. Number 3 and 4 are the ones that can be considered “toxic.”

But let us take into consideration again the definition of the word. Toxin is poison and toxic is poisonous. And as I have discussed, the people are just infected by the societal toxins. This is why they become toxic or poisonous to people who are undergoing emotional stress.

But this does not necessarily mean that they are already the antagonists in your life. Maybe at the moment, they just don’t have the capability to understand your situation.

As explained earlier, the stigma on mental health is a societal toxin. Everything that has been a belief of a certain culture and society does not happen overnight. A belief is almost a result of evolution, a product of everything that the society has been through. This is why a lot of people, at the moment, may not understand.

I, myself, also didn’t understand mental health well, until I went through it. People say that someone cannot really explain something until he or she actually experienced it. This is the reason also why I think, the stigma on mental health is still prominent around the globe.

Staying away from toxic people

It is very much okay for you to leave, especially if you feel the need for space from the toxicity. These toxic people may not understand a person undergoing emotional stress. Unfortunately, these people maybe the people to whom we think we can depend on. Eventually, they can just trigger panic attacks and breakdowns. And because these toxic people cannot understand the emotionally-disturbed person, the latter tends to stay away from them.

This eventually leads to that feeling that “nobody loves me.” And when this feeling continues, it can eventually lead to breakdowns, panic attacks and eventually that thing that happened to Chester Bennington.

But please, never think that you are alone in this battle. Healing is a process, and it starts from your own willingness to be healed. The people around you may not be able to give a hand, but there are people who can provide you with the professional help you need. These are the people who can truly understand you.

Just a note

But I just want to note one thing. Remember, these toxic people may just be stigmatized on mental health. It is a good decision to stay away from them. That will be good for you.

However, whatever happens once you are healed depends on each person’s case, but one thing’s for sure. Once you are healed, or even if you are just better and maybe not completely healed yet, you may feel the need to come back to those people who are once very close to you but you have abandoned because of their toxicity. And the people who will accept you again after all that you have been through together are one of those that you should treasure the most.

Each of us has our own internal battles, but collectively, this is our fight against the stigma on mental health. More discussions on future posts.


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