December 14th, 2016by elissacarolynne
Some people don’t believe in mental illness or think that it’s not a big deal. Those of us who struggle with them understand how untrue this is. Until you’ve gone through an illness with no cure, you can’t possibly understand how taxing it is. Some people take offense to this argument, but they are the lucky ones. Every person has their weights to bear, but some weights have a time limit. Mental illness does not.
Until my first hospitalization in a mental ward, I didn’t realize how real mental illness is. I thought I cut myself and starved myself because I was lonely. Now I look back over my experiences before my suicide attempt and realize how my whole life has been tainted with mental illness.
Allow me to back up a little bit. I’m making this post in the hopes that my story will help even one person to see that it’s worth it to stick around. And no, I’m not recovered. But I’m not dead either. No one seems to address that middle part of recovery. They address the rock bottom and the recovered but not those fighting each and every day to face the world.
I read an article once about the inner battle between anxiety and depression that happens each morning when they awake, and I think most of us can relate to that. Neurotypicals could never understand that each day is a battle. We win some, we lose some. But we WILL win the war.
Many believe that mental illness is a choice. “Have you tried yoga?” “Have you ever just like not been sad?” I’ve had both those things said to me, and I’m sure you have your own ignorant things that have been said to you. I’ve often said things like “Do you think I want to live like this? Do you think I like being in a mental hospital with no outside contact?”. Now I realize that people who question the reality of mental illness are truly just under-educated. Our educational system in America has truly failed in this aspect. There needs to be far more education on mental illness and some sort of sensitivity training.
The other half of neurotypicals tend to romanticize mental illness. There are whole social media pages dedicated to “thinspiration” or the “beauty of cutting”. Our pain is not another’s glory.
The question here is not whether or not we are the toughest and strongest people out there. ( because we definitely are (; ) The question is: What can we do? Clearly we need to inform neurotypicals of how their actions effect us and how they can help us instead of hurt us. I don’t think they mean to hurt us. They are misinformed. I think we need to speak out and make our community known. We are STRONG. We are LOUD. And we are WARRIORS. Most of all, we are STILL ALIVE. Don’t we need to fight for those who aren’t with us anymore? Don’t we need to show everyone that we are here and that we are ready to fight until we receive what we need? Most are so shy about mental illness. We need to break the stigma on mental illness and suicide. Even the word “suicide” makes people uncomfortable. We need to normalize it. Use social media and your voice for the greater. Do whatever you can to overcome what is holding you back from speaking out. I know that we can do it, because we’ve already come so far.
If you have any feedback, questions, or just need a friend, please leave it for me here. I would love to hear others’ stories and ideas. If you have another idea on how we can educate and normalize, tell me. I’ll do whatever I can to make sure we are heard. Remember that we are warriors, and stay safe.