Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Break Down The Mental Illness Barriers

Mental illness is very common, more common than most people realize. The person you sit next to on the bus might have an anxiety disorder. Your boss might have narcissism and delusions of grandeur. Your best friend might have post traumatic stress disorder. Your mother may have depression, and your aunt might have body dismorphic disorder.

You just never know what anyone around you is dealing with at any given time, because chances are they are trying to deal with it on their own. Enough of that. Dealing with mental illness alone is a hard, lonely, suffering lifestyle. I will be the first one to say that it is challenging enough dealing with day-to-day life and the twists and turns that it deals to you. But throw a mental disorder or illness on top of that, and you have the recipe for daily pain, seemingly endless despair, and the worst self-criticism since the dawn of humanity.

If you suffer (or think you suffer) from a mental illness of any variety, don't hide it. Embrace it, and share it. Because a burden shared, is a burden eased.

Maybe you think "pfft, what does this lady know, she's just some crazy eccentric lady on the internet". To which I reply:

First of all, I'm no lady, I am crass, rude, and downright blue-collar at times. But I have a knack for telling it like it is, and that's what I'm doing right now.

Secondly, I have a mental illness. I know what it's like to feel like there's no end, no hope. I have felt that heart wrenching, stomach turning, sweaty palmed anxiety. My mind has slowed down to a point of near-catatonia from absolute depression. I know what the compulsion of illogic feels like, and I have experienced the frustrating irritation and absolute energy of mania.

But this isn't about me. This is about the rest of you with mental illness. Talk about it. Don't hide it, it's just not worth the turmoil. People know there's something up, there's not really any purpose in hiding it except to stew in your own misery.

Believe me, I know it's hard! I've been there! I've mastered the "happy face" because for years I was told to 'fake it until you make it' which never actually happened. I never 'made it', I just hid it really well. Misery was all I knew, and sometimes it can still feel that way.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that 1 in 5 people suffers from some form of mental illness, and 10.4% of people suffer from some level of substance abuse, there is still a stigma about mental health. It is so predominant that 20% of people suffer from it, and yet there is a feeling of taboo about the subject.

With taboo and stigma, comes judgement. The judgement says that if you suffer, you didn't try hard enough. It says if you just tried this or that, your problem would go away.

Not your mugshot

It isn't that easy. Maybe some people can willpower their way out of a funk, or eat cashews to make their anxiety go away. But most people? Most people need help, they need someone to talk to, to let them know that they aren't aliens in human form.

 No matter what you are going through at any given point, you are not alone. You do have friends and family that love you, and if you don't feel like you can talk to them, there is always a therapist or a family doctor who will hear you out.

Share the thoughts, the pain, the truth. Share it so that others know they aren't alone, and you will realize how absolutely full of awesome you totally are.

Create your own reality where perfection is exactly how you are. Because you are perfectly you, and don't try to change it.

No comments:

Post a Comment