Once again it’s October 10, which means it’s World Mental Health Day. This is a day that mental health is to be recognized, and people can speak out about their experiences. As a mental health advocate you’d expect me to be excited about this day, where people are speaking up, right? The answer is yes and no.
I want people to encourage others to seek help.
Yes, because of course I want people to share their stories. I want people to encourage others to seek help. I want people to not be ashamed of a diagnosis, and to accept it so they can get better. I want people to be supported. That is my biggest care outside my family. I know I don’t know you, dear reader, but I want your mental health to be acknowledged! I want you to be safe. I don’t want you fighting dark thoughts alone. I want you to know you have an army of Mental Warriors standing strong right behind you. So yes,on this day, I want you to feel safe and find your voice.
How people with mental health issues are just “weak.”
But this day also kind of sucks, because on this day we realize how few people actually recognize mental health. We have days to support people who have other illnesses (cancer, heart disease) and raise money on those days. We know how bad those diseases are,and we speak of the victims and those with those disease with such love. But on World Mental Health Day posts will be littered with comments about “getting over it.” How people with mental health issues are just “weak.” We are ridiculed instead of loved. We are told our chronic illness, and the pain that comes with it isn’t real. We are called attention seekers.
And you know, after 22 years of hearing this, I’ve had enough.
This year I’m not sharing my story. I’ve shared a lot of it. I have given descriptive details about what it’s like to be in my shoes, what it’s like to live with what I have. I’ve talked about my diagnosis, my treatment, my relapses. You don’t need my story this year. This year you need the truth. Living with mental illness is brutal. I am a tough cookie. I fight my own battles, and I have since a very young age. I joke, and laugh with friends, but I’m an intelligent woman. I am not weak, I am not an attention seeker, and I will not get over the fact that mental illness needs to be treated just as seriously as any other illness!
People are dying, at their own hands, because they don’t think they are worthy of living with their minds.
Mental illness is claiming lives; people are losing battles of depression and not living their lives to the fullest, people are using drugs and overdosing because they find it easier to self medicate than to go to a doctor when something’s wrong (you can thank the stigma of mental illness for that one). People are so ashamed of being sick and having these thoughts or taking these actions that they aren’t getting help. Because we have let them down, by creating this nasty stigma and taboo about mental illness. People are dying, at their own hands, because they don’t think they are worthy of living with their minds. People are hurting themselves because somehow in our society that makes more sense than to check into a hospital. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Today on World Mental Health Day I want to encourage you to speak up. Roar to the world and let people know they aren’t alone. Offer hotline numbers, be a friend to someone, save a life. And keep that mentality up for the rest of the year.
Mental Health is a silent killer; but by talking and sharing our stories, we can lower statistics and help those who are suffering find comfort.