I have posted on other blogs about the reality of mental health, both my reality and what I observe.
Sometimes I trick myself into thinking people are immune to mental health disorders and they have either never experienced one themselves or seen a family member or friend with a challenge.
If you have never experienced a challenge yourself in one way or another, please tell me about yourself. I envy you.
About 6 years ago I decided to go back to work and start advocating for people with behavioral health needs. I was that person and for many years, nobody advocated for me and it sucked, I was in a vicious circle of living on my own, being in trouble, getting bailed out, getting help, doing well and then I sunk back into the deep depths of mental health hell.
This affected everyone around me. My mom, dad, brother, daughter and even my ex-husband. All my friends kept me at arms length and I struggled to know what a real friend was. Someone I could tell anything and everything to.
Now I struggle with that balance, I don’t want to lie, but I don’t want to share it all and am in a weird place trying to decide what to share and what not to share. Sometimes I feel as if I am being judged by strangers and that carries over to those I am around all the time.
I struggle with trying to manage my finances properly, making sure I get to appointments on time, picking up the right things at the store.
I have lists and more lists.
I start projects and don’t finish them.
Listening (not just hearing) what people need and want around me and accommodating them.
Being empathetic to everyone, so much so it causes me to lose track of my own thoughts.
Not being able to put things into perspective.
Catastrophizing instead of being positive.
This, my friends, is mental illness. It is not always the horrible things you see on TV. It’s real life.
Do any of those things make me a serial killer?
Do my behaviors mean I will cheat, lie or steal from you?
At the end of the day I know my ups and downs affect more than just me. They affect all those around me. I try to control the good and bad and not project how I feel inside with how I act on the outside. The problem is, then I am not being me. I am not being authentic.
This. This is the face of mental illness.
This face isn’t a murder suspect. This is the face of a mom, daughter, aunt, sister, colleague and friend. This is the face of a person who struggles and needs help, but is too afraid to ask for it.
Recently I was turned into a website called Hope & Grace Community. I appreciate their articles and their insight into “real life mental illness” and how it affects everyone.
There are celebrities out there who advocate for mental health recovery, both their own and others.
My question is, if it’s okay for a celebrity to talk about it and not get shamed by the public, then why do communities shame people?
Why do families and friends put people with mental illnesses in the corner?
Everyones words and actions affect everyone around them.
I again urge you to please show some respect for others with mental health challenges, treat them like a human and don’t assume that just because a person has a mental illness doesn’t mean that they are less than someone without one. I’ll bet you that everyone you come into contact with has experienced some sort of anxiety, depression or other form of a mental health challenge.
In the words of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts baby in the corner” – we shouldn’t put others in the corner because we have uneducated or different thoughts about mental health and what it looks like.
Think about it.