The 2018 Mental Health Awareness Week Theme Is...

#CureStigma 

One in 5 Americans is affected by mental illness, yet discussing this is still somewhat of a taboo thing to do. 

The stigma around speaking up about mental health is so strong and prevalent it prevents so many individuals from getting the help they need and deserve. 

I think it's about time I help break the stigma myself and speak up- I've dealt with depression and anxiety for the past three years, and frankly I waited way too long before getting help because well yeah the stigma! I was really embarrassed. I was embarrassed because I had so many amazing opportunities at my fingertips, I was able to study abroad, I had friends that continually told me they loved me, nothing externally tragic was happening, etc. However, getting out of bed every day became progressively harder, I felt anxious and numb most of the time, and then I stopped planning things because I couldn't visualize any kind of future.

Mental illness isn't just circumstantial and ANYONE is susceptible, no one should be feeling guilty for being affected. 

Also, there is not one ~look~ to mental illness, in fact I am told at least once a week a variation of the following:

"WOW you smile all the time, you're the happiest person I know!" 

It's common for us to assume everyone else is doing okay unless there are glaring signs that say otherwise, and that's a huge problem. 

hey it's okay not to be okay

We need to start creating environments where people don't feel extremely uncomfortable admitting they're not happy.  

Three years ago, I was lucky enough to be dating a boy who took those first steps for me when I couldn't, he went to my mom and let her know that I needed to start seeing someone, and she immediately took action and got me set up with a therapist that I saw for a period of time, and who then directed me to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with depression and anxiety. I was then prescribed medication that helped me start functioning again.

Bing bang boom. 

Healed. 

 

Jk. It's not easy, but I can assure you it's 10,000 times easier than silently suffering. 

Sorry Nike, when it comes to mental health, a lot of people can't "just do it". Let's start opening up a dialogue with friends and family, so they feel comfortable taking those first few steps to seek help and treatment. This is affecting 20% of our population, it's time to stop the stigma. 

I now not only see a future for myself, but have so many big plans that I had to get TWO planners to fit them all in. Point is, you may not be able see it now, but the world has so many beautiful things in store for you, please stick around to see them. 

XOXO

https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Illness-Awareness-Week