Stop the Stigma

Alright, it’s time to be truthful. Anxiety sucks. Depression sucks. There are days that I hate having to convince myself that some of my own thoughts are misleading and untrue. Do you know how exhausting that can be? How much work it actually takes to keep yourself put together even with the help of medication? I have struggled with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and complex ptsd since my adolescence and have only been on medication the last three years. I can’t imagine how my life would have been different if I had gotten help sooner, or had been surrounded by people who didn’t think mental illness carried such a stigma. Because I have been helped so much through medication and therapy I decided that it was time to be open about my experience and try to stop the stigma of mental health. There are days that I don’t want to do anything except lay in bed and eat take out while binge watching Netflix while refusing to shower. Thankfully those days are few and far between and if I get into that funk my kids usually want to cuddle up and watch a movie with me.

Why is this so hard to talk about? What makes anxiety, depression, bipolar, trauma, abuse, and other mental illnesses so difficult to talk about? Treatment for mental illnesses has made so many leaps and bounds since the days of straight jackets and haldol. I will admit that at first it’s difficult even for me, I was worried the looks I was going to get or if I would be seen differently by my friends. Once I opened up, it wasn’t so weird to have conversations about what medications were working and eventually a few friends started talking about their struggle with mental illness as well.

It’s time to stop the stigma. The quote above from Jennifer Lawrence says it all. We are able to talk about medication needed for diabetes, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even acid re-flux but not about medication needed to help us mentally.  It’s not any different, some people cannot control the level of serotonin in their brain any more then someone can control the levels of insulin their pancreas is able to produce. We need to have more open conversations surrounding mental health and the time to start is now.

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