I have a hard time understanding where the stigmas of mental health came from. I wish the person that made these stick to our society understood how many people he was hurting when he did it. Even I find myself falling into some stigmas of mental health and laughing because why in the actual f*&$ do I think I can hold a stigma to that. I think it is really sad that these stigmas lead to death, indirectly but nonetheless they lead to others not getting help, not admitting they have a problem, or staying away from medication.
Stigma number one that needs to be busted… “It is weak to need/ask for help.”
Oh my friends, if you only knew that only the strongest of the strong actually ask for help. To realize you need help itself is a huge feat that is accomplished, but to actually ask for it… you have become the Incredible Hulk of mental health. I will not judge people on their journeys as it took over 10 years for me to ask for and accept help, but I will say you are far from weak when you get to that point, your courage is stronger than your disease and you are starting to gain the control back over your life and over your Brain Demon.
Stigma number two…. “Mental Health Disorder = Crazy, Psycho nut job”
Um well no, actually it doesn’t. The media has stigmatized “normal” people with mental health disorders by telling us that every serial killer, mass murderer, or psychopath has some mental disorder, and honestly they obviously do or they wouldn’t have committed their acts, but that does not mean every single person with a mental health disorder is a mass murdering psycho! You can call me a lot of things but the one thing that rocks me to my core is being called crazy. I am not crazy…. I have a disease of the mind.
Stigma number three… “She’s just making excuses”
I can promise you that no one with a mental health disorder wants it, so if you want us to stop using “excuses” we will gladly pass it on to you if you want the burden instead. We do not use excuses when we cannot get out of bed, or when we cannot stop crying, or when we cannot stop thinking about or actually hurting ourselves. We don’t know why we are doing it and how to stop it. Most of us call our disease out by name when it is the cause of our issues and share it openly with the ones we are close with, we don’t make excuses, it is a disease. You don’t blame someone with epilepsy for having a seizure, you can’t blame someone with severe depression when they can’t get out of bed. It is not an excuse, it is a part of our disease that we cannot control.
Stigma number four…. “If you have to be medicated, you must be weak minded”
What the hell does that even mean?! Um, if my mind was a muscle it would be 100x stronger than a normal person’s mind because I spend my free time using my mind to convince my Brain Demon we do have to live we can’t die. Medication is a tool to help even out the chemicals in the brain that are f*^&ed up to help hold people with mental health disorders on an even kiln. For some people, they can get on and off of medication as needed, and that is wonderful! For some of us, it will be a forever thing, our disease and more progressed but our minds are just as strong as anyone else's. OUR CHEMICALS ARE NOT RIGHT NOT THE SIZE OR INTEGRITY OF OUR BRAINS!
Stigma five…. “Something is wrong with P, she must be off her medication”
Seriously?! A bad day comes along and suddenly I am a basket case off my medication, um I don’t think it works that way. Just as “normal” people are entitled to bad days, so our people with mental health issues. We are allowed to be emotional, sad, angry, disoriented, detached, or whatever else in the hell we need to be and it doesn’t have to be our medication that caused it. I take my medication religiously, but I am a human and forget a day sometimes, but that doesn’t change how I act, it changes my energy level. Yep, I am more tired, i'm not psychotic, I am tired. Bad days are not off medication binges, they are simply the same as your bad days.
Stigma six…. “Mental illness is a choice or bad upbringing not a disease”
I will have you know I may have had a different upbringing but it was a great one! My parents went through hell to raise me to be the woman I am and it is offensive to me that you would blame my disease on how they raised me! My parents did absolutely everything they could to make sure I was safe, healthy, and fed. I never went without and always had good clothes on my back and good shoes on my feet. My disease was also not a choice. I wasn’t asked, “Hey, do you want to feel like you want to die everyday?” Yeah um, my answer would have been uh no. No one has a choice to have a mental disease, we have the choice to get treated, and that choice has us condemned by all those around us.
Stigma seven…. “I could have saved them if I had only known they were suffering.”
Don’t put that guilt on yourself, you can’t save us, change us, or make us realize what life is worth… our disease takes that control away from us and no matter what you say, it doesn’t change that… medication does. The biggest stigma in mental health, medication, is the only thing that can save us and that is only if we can get over the stigma of taking it, or the stigma of being judged for being “weak”, or the stigma of being a lunatic because we have to be medicated.
And so many more….
If you haven’t put it all together, the thing keeping people with depression or mental illness from getting help is stigma. The reason people are dying exponentially to suicide is because they don’t know how to get help, they are afraid to get help, or they’ve been taught they are weak to ask for it. Break your way of thinking! Can we decide that seeing our friends and family alive is more important than stigma! Can we all agree that we would rather see someone through 5 rough medication changes and helping them get through than to see them gone from our lives forever?
Friends I am a miracle. I was and am destined to be killed by depression. The Brain Demon wants me to be another statistic that says I can’t make it through this life. My disease wants to kill me because I am too afraid to seek help. My brain doesn’t want medication, it put up a hell of a fight when I first tried to medicate it and keep it alive. Not everyone is me…. I am the voice for those that aren’t. Ninety nine percent of people do NOT talk about their disease, they do NOT seek help, and they do NOT know where to turn. I write for them. I write for those that depression has already killed, I write for their families so they know that their loved one was not to blame in this fight, but the Brain Demon won and that depression killed another precious soul. I write for those that have loved ones fighting a battle they don’t understand. Friends reach out I am here, I am an open book for you to flip through. This battle was given to me to share it and help others through it. Damnit, I am a warrior of my disease, I wear it, it does NOT wear me.
Our Story ;sn’t Over!