Mr. Hemingway, besides being a famous and talented author, was also one of us. He suffered greatly from his mental illness. He suffered from depression but it doesn't matter which mental illness you have. This isn't necessarily an exclusive club of individuals. The only requirement to be one of us is to suffer like one of us. All mental illnesses apply here....
If we had a badge, I would like to think it would be bright and shiny. It would have the word "Brave" on it because to face everyday, we are brave. We walk this world with so much on our shoulders and we keep going in the face of stigma and ignorance, and that my friends, takes bravery.
We have a ribbon and it is lime green, but I kinda hoped it would be green with large red stripes. I like the stripes idea because we are unique. Each and everyone of us, so our ribbon should reflect that we are....magnificent and we stand out. (course I tend to air on the gaudy side, be thankful I didn't say it should have glitter on it because I looove glitter). Green represents renewal which makes total sense, we grow everyday. We renew everyday. We live each and every day. The red would represent that we are here and we stand in the face of misguided judgement and false preconceived notions of who and what we are. We are us and we are nothing to be afraid of. We are not bad or scary or freaks.
If we had a flag, I would like it to be big and bold. I would like it to have the word "Strong" in huge black letters. Because if nothing else, if we are nothing else, we are strong. We carry so much, do so much, feel so much and yet we get out of bed every morning and have the strength to face the day no matter what it may throw at us. We get up and try over and over and over again. Knowing we might stumble. Knowing that we might fall. Knowing that the world will see us differently. Knowing that somethings may seem absolutely impossible and yet will we do them anyway. And even if we can't do them today, we can try again tomorrow because we are powerful in our own lives. We are the masters of our own journeys. We are intelligent, we are beautiful. We suffer and struggle and yet still continue to push back and fight against not only our own illness but also against the discrimination and stigma that we all face daily, and that makes us strong.
I guess if you had to call us something we would be a club. A club of amazing, creative, intelligent, and wonderful people that just happen to have mental illness. We are unique. We are magnificent. We are great people. If the world saw us as we really are, they would see that we are just like everyone else except that we suffer from an illness. No different than a physical illness because it is a physical illness. The illness just happens to be in our brains. There is no shame in that and it is high time we start understanding that. No one is ashamed to have heart disease or diabetes. No one should be ashamed to have mental illness. We are not less than we are equal to. We are virtually exactly the same as everyone else except maybe, just maybe, we are just stronger in our broken places.