May is Mental Illness Awareness month.
What can I say that hasn't already been said....
It is not easy to be like us. It isn't easy to deal with the issues we deal with. It isn't easy to wrestle with things like stigma and ignorance. It isn't easy to get out of bed in the morning when you are depressed nor is it easy to to explain how you feel when you are Bipolar. It isn't easy to push through triggers when you have OCD or any of the many other anxiety disorders. It isn't easy to have Schizophrenia. It isn't easy to live with a mental illness. It's just not.
It's doable.....but not easy.
I want my blog to be uplifting, positive, sometimes humorous, and sometimes ranting but most of all I want my blog to be completely honest. I feel like a great many of the "discussions" about mental illness are sanitized, misconstrued, side swept, or only spoken about in the quietest whispers in the darkest of rooms and that needs to stop. Because, frankly, we deserve better.
Honesty is the only thing that can change the current system of misunderstanding. Mental illness is not another word for weakness. It is not an excuse. It does not make us any less important than anyone else. It should be talked about openly in a public form without bias or false pretenses. Without shame or guilt. Without nameless baseless fear.
Without that kind of honesty and openness, mental illness will always be regarded as someone else's problem. It will continue to be misrepresented by the media and underfunded in it's programs. It will remain in the shadows, silenced by those that do not understand. It will be muted by those that are afraid. People that need help will go untreated. People that could be saved will not be. Many individuals that will suffer will do so in silence. And why?
Because of stigma.
We fear how others will react to our diagnoses as if it were a label placed on a placard around our necks. We are afraid of being judged and to be seen as different. We are afraid of being thought of as less than or worthless or broken . We are afraid of being side eyed and talked about. We are afraid of being unjustly feared and unfairly ridiculed. We are afraid.....and we shouldn't have to live under that fear.
I wanted to write a post about understanding, support for each other, standing up to stigma, believing in your self worth, and hope. Because those are the things that really matter in this world full of misconceptions of who we are or what we can achieve simply because of a diagnosis.
I wanted to give a shout out to those of you who suffer like me and tell you to hold on and keep fighting. To hold your head up high because we are good people, strong people, magnificent people. I wanted to make sure that everyone knows how truly important they are to the world. Each of you are completely remarkable, unequivocally unique individuals that make a difference everyday just by being who you are. By fighting even though living with mental illness isn't easy. I wanted to dedicate today's post to the fact that we still get up everyday and try like hell. That is an amazing feat. That is the definition of inspiring.
No, living with mental illness isn't easy but that doesn't mean that we can't do it. It doesn't mean that we can't do it well and it certainly, doesn't mean that we are any less worthy, less capable, less lovable, less inspiring, less strong, or less important than anyone else. We are not less than, we are equal to.
I am proud of us. I am proud of me and I am proud of you. We are badasses, people. I hope you know that.
So, go look at yourself in the mirror, pat yourself on the back, and let yourself realize how spectacularly brave you are.
Happy Mental Illness Awareness month,