It’s unfortunate that mental illnesses come with such a negative stigma, and those who are suffering are ashamed and afraid to talk about their struggles to others, and to seek help. So, in turn, we go through this on our own, in silence and in the dark. The end result is tragic.
The most difficult part is doing it alone, and feeling like you have no other choice but to do it alone so Thank you Bell Let’s Talk for creating this initiative and for creating the conversation online. A simple hashtag may seem trivial, but it’s the beginning of talking, and creating a sense of openness, and comfort in regards to dealing with mental illnesses.
I really hope that we can continue this Lets Talk movement for the next 360+ days. January 28th should not be the only day we are comfortable with the idea of mental illness. It should be every day. It’s a disease. Not a moment. Not a bad day. Not a weakness.
Not a day goes by that I don’t go through my own battles with depression, and I have been going through them since I was a young kid. I can almost remember vividly when it all began. For years, I was ashamed, and I never said much. My parents knew but that was it. A year and a half ago, I started writing a blog about my experiences, throwing all of my personal struggles out there for anyone, and everyone to read. One of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life, and it still is. But, I’ve also never had a friend shun me since I started writing, I’ve never had an employer fire me, and my family did not love me any less. I’ve been treated just the same as I were before I started writing, nothing really changed. I almost expected people to shut me out, feel embarrassed, or awkward around me. This is what the silence, and the stigma of mental illness has done. Looking back, It seem’s so stupid that I thought that. I’ve tried several different exercises, or therapists, or medication to help remedy my fight with depression. Sure, maybe some it held some sort of temporary relief for me, but nothing ever really made me feel comfortable in my own skin, nothing made me feel normal. I continued to feel like I had this strange problem that I need to keep hush hush. Until I started writing, and seeing responses from people, even the non responses and seeing people treat me just the same. This has provided me with relief, this has made me feel as close to normal as I maybe ever will. It’s allowed me to accept that I suffer from depression, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of about that. Nothing. I encourage everyone to share your story, just like I did. I can guarantee you, it will provide you with some sort of relief, a sense of pride, and happiness too. Even if for a simple moment, you’ll feel real, you’ll feel normal, you’ll feel like it’s okay to have anxiety disorder, or bi-polar disorder, or severe depression… Because it is OK.
I’ve seen the silence, the darkness, and the stigma take away from so many people, and it’s taken my sister away from me. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about Jen. There is not a day that goes by where I find myself wondering… Maybe if I just talked to Jen about depression, about fighting. Maybe we could still be talking about it today.
Don’t go through this on your own, don’t suffer through silence. Talk about it. Write about it. Share your experience with friends, family. There is nothing to be ashamed of, there is nothing to be afraid of. You are normal. You are O.K. Don’t allow yourself to feel any different. Someone right next to you is probably going through the same fight, alone.
Talk now, before it’s too late, and you find yourself wishing you would have sooner.