As I was taking my medication tonight I thought, “It’s sad that I need a pill to be happy.”
And then I stopped myself because that thought is EXACTLY why the stigma around mental health exists. We, as a society in general, treat invisible illnesses as if it’s the fault of the person battling them.
Is it sad that a diabetic needs insulin to be healthy? Is it sad that a broken arm requires a cast to heal properly? Is it sad that allergies require antihistamines? No, no, and no.
But your brain doesn’t make enough serotonin? Too bad. Just snap out of it.
Exposed to alcohol during utero and diagnosed with FASD? Too bad. Control your behavior.
Chronic pain? Faker.
Depressed? You’re just not trying hard enough. Wake up in the morning and choose to be happy.
It’s hard to stomach the way we treat others without trying to understand their story. Sometimes I beat myself up for being depressed and anxious. Sometimes, like tonight, I can counter those negative thoughts with the determination to make a difference.
This week a friend commented that I’m “really on the mental health warpath”. I’m not sure how to take that comment, but if that’s what this is, then so be it. I choose to talk openly about my mental health in order to encourage others who are struggling to seek help. I plan to be a champion of change. Somehow I am going to make a contribution to mental health awareness. I’m going to help change lives. I may not have completely figured out how I’m going to do this, but I know this blog is only the beginning.
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.