For some people, sharing their stories about their illness and hardships can be easy for them, and for some people, it may feel impossible.
For so many generations, mental health was never spoken about. During ancient times, mental illness was seen as an abnormal behavior that was a punishment of the Gods. During the 17th century, women were seen as witches; thus were burned alive.
I am not here to give a full history of the mental health stigma, but I think you understand my point.
As humans — when we do not understand something, we jump to conclusions that are easier to understand for the mind. Society believes that if they can not see the illness then the person is making it up and looking for attention. I still today have had people tell me that mental illness doesn’t exist and let me tell you — it irks me. The people who tell me this are the ones that I find are struggling the most, but are too stubborn to have a conversation about it.
Believe it or not, the ones who are meanest to others are the ones who need the most help.
This Is Why I Decided To Share
When I was in high school, I was not treated the best. I’ve always been super emotional with a lot to say. I would feel a lot of sadness and get irritated very easily because of my illness. My peers and previous significant others would ignore me. They would distance themselves from me because they thought I was someone who was looking for attention. At the time, I thought I was the problem and that I was not worthy of anyone’s time, but now I understand that it was never me. They never truly understood what was going on in my head and how it contributed to my behavior.
Facebook “on this day” feature has helped me analyze my younger self. My statues consisted of a lot of anger and sadness complaining about my life. I know a lot of it does have to do with the fact that I had an adolescent mind at the time, but it does show my growth.
I started to understand mental illness when I was a junior in high school after I experienced my darkest moment. My parents forced me to see a psychiatrist who then diagnosed me with Bipolar. I felt a sense of relief to know that I wasn’t crazy and that I have a condition that can be treated.
Since then, I truly wanted to help others. I signed up for a psychology course in high school which then transitioned me into studying psychology in college. My goal in college was either becoming a therapist or a school counselor to help adolescents. I decided to not take that route because I am still currently fighting my battle so putting myself in a critical job role like that will not be beneficial for me or the patient.
I knew that my purpose in life was to help others so I began to spread mental health awareness by leveraging social media. I utilize the Youtube and Instagram platform to reach as many people as possible to spread awareness.
Let me tell you, I have had multiple people DM me telling me that my content has helped them through tough times. Some of the messages would tell me that they are scared to talk to their friends and family because they fear they would not understand. I have been applauded and recognized for having the courage to talk openly about my struggles. Because of that, people feel comfortable to talk to me, even when I am a complete stranger to them. I must say that I am extremely proud of every single person that clicked on the message button on Instagram and Twitter. It is not easy being vulnerable especially since we’ve learned from our ancestors that we need to keep our mental health struggles a “secret”. Because of this, we did not know anyone who struggled; therefore, we felt alone which can lead to suicide attempts.
The reality is: we are all humans who have a brain at the end of the day. There is no shame in sharing your struggles with mental health. Sharing my story has impacted others and who knows maybe saved a life.
I know that’s it is not easy to become vulnerable and to share your hardships. It is completely okay if you choose not too, but what I am saying is that your story may be valuable to others and you might not know it.
We all have the ability to impact others.
The more people who overcome the struggle to open up, the faster we can all fight this stigma.