My last post touched on a very difficult topic when it comes to mental illness. They won’t all be dark and depressing, I promise!
Truthfully, it’s hard not to be dark and ominous when discussing mental health and the effects depression and anxiety can have on our bodies.
But this blog shouldn’t be another thing that brings you down into that void.
When I started writing, I had one goal:
- Help others who suffer understand that they are not alone.
This can be a place of comfort. You can read about my struggles and what I do to manage. It’s a safe space here, even if it is virtual.
As I continue to write, I realize that I have new goals and hopes for this site. In addition to my first goal, I also want to:
- Help people who know someone who suffers understand what they can do to help their friend or family member.
- Bring awareness to those who don’t suffer and are ignorant to the fact that they know someone who does.
The bottom line is that I want to help. In order to do that, I have to share my story, and talk about issues that aren’t easy.
It’s not easy to write; it may not be easy to read.
Of the above goals, I feel like the first two should be a piece of cake.
I’ll keep writing, and those who suffer from mental illness, and those who know people who suffer, they’ll come and read.
The challenge is to write about topics that will keep them coming back, and hopefully provide solutions, encouragement, or just enlightening words of wisdom.
Maybe not a piece of cake, but I can do my best.
Help Me Help You
Goal #3 will be the hardest.
I’ll need your help. If you suffer, and there’s someone you think is just plain ignorant, please share my site with them.
Feel free to write to me and tell me your story and a little about them, and I’ll happily call them out – indirectly of course. No bullying or shaming.
If you don’t want to share your story, that’s ok too. I understand. It’s hard.
Maybe you’re not ready to put it out there. Maybe you are ready but can’t find the words.
It’s ok. Write to me anyway. You can be anonymous. I will keep you anonymous regardless.
If you have a topic you want me to write about, I’d love to hear it.
Your message to me could be as simple as, “Person at work told me it’s all in my head and to do yoga to get over it.”
*Side note: someone actually said this to me. I will write about this, because quite frankly, I’m still appalled.
Write to me. I’d love to know what’s going on. Good or bad. Am I helpful? Could I be more helpful? Tell me how.
Ending the Stigma Around Mental Illness
I want to open the eyes of people who don’t know or don’t believe in mental illness. This is a battle we are constantly fighting.
It is a constant fight. Mental illness.
We battle ourselves and our feelings and our emotions and our thoughts, and as we do this it affects our whole being. It’s our every day.
We don’t want to fight you, too.
Explaining why mental illness is a real thing to those who simply don’t get it is draining.
We’re using every ounce of our strength to keep it together; we shouldn’t also have to prove that it’s a real problem.
Imagine if I had a broken arm, casted. It’s a visible sign. You don’t even need to know me; you can just see that I have a broken arm.
Here’s how the three people from my three different goals would react to seeing me.
- Person #1: would point to his/her own arm and it would either be casted also, or there would be a nod to say, ‘I have broken mine before; I understand.’
- Person #2: would reach out and say, “I’m sorry you’re hurt, can I help you carry your things?”
- Person #3: would miss the cast and the looks of pain and discomfort on my face, and say, “Hey, I’m moving this weekend, you can help, right?”
My goal is to explain to the number threes of the world, a broken arm is a real thing. People go to the doctors, get it mended, and get prescriptions to ease the pain.
You pretending not to see the cast will not make it disappear.
The cast itself is not the problem. The problem is underneath. The problem is the broken arm. The cast is the temporary solution.
If someone shows you their cast, it’s because they want you to know that something is broken underneath.
They don’t expect you to fix it; they just want you to know it hurts.
Find some compassion. That is our ask.
Don’t be that guy who rolls his eyes and says “well, it’s broken all the time, get over it.”
We won’t get over it. We won’t dismiss it. We won’t be ashamed of it.
We won’t cover it up to make your life easier.
We’re certainly not going to help you move this weekend.