This is a difficult topic to talk about, but it needs to be addressed
In the past week, I’ve had something sitting on my heart that I need a moment to talk about. It’s nothing overly crazy, but it resonated with me and I can imagine I’m not the only person who has felt this way. Last week I had a friend (to be discrete I won’t reveal their name) whose parents reached out to me because they were concerned about their child’s well-being so I packed up my things and headed over to their apartment. My friend disclosed what was going on and how they had been feeling, with tears running down their face. Later that evening they had a mild panic attack. This isn’t a new issue for them, previously I have been present for another full-on panic attack. When this happens, I can’t help but tear up with them because to put it plainly, it breaks my heart. What really stuck out to me was they didn’t want to be labeled again, and that was a huge concern for them. No one wants to be told that they have anxiety, or any other mental disorder. I know I didn’t.
To give some back story I’ve battled depression for 8 years now. I was 13 sitting in the car on the way to dance class crying in my dad’s car telling him that I was so sad but I didn’t know why. I was 13, what could I possibly be sad about? Life is supposed to be easy at that age, yet I felt suffocated by my sadness. Luckily I had caring parents who took me to get help, and continued to help me throughout the years when I experienced bad lows. Living with depression, or any other mental illness, isn’t a walk in the park. I have my own ups and downs, and sometimes for weeks on end I’m just plain unhappy. Sometimes I spend all day in bed, sometimes I fall apart and other times I’m pissed off at the world. I’m not looking for sympathy, and neither is anyone else who faces this in their daily lives, but this our reality. Frankly, it fucking sucks. I would never wish that kind of despair on my worst enemy. I’ve spent several years learning to accept my issue and will probably continue to do so. But the social acceptance of people with mental illness makes it that much more difficult to live with. Society silences those with mental illnesses making those who are currently suffering, diagnosed or yet to be diagnosed, ashamed of their mental illness.
It’s okay to not be okay
People everywhere are feeling they would be less accepted by society if they spoke up about their personal aliments. Instead they are forced to suffer without any outside help. Don’t people understand how hard that is? I’m urging everyone to speak up, and accept those who are suffering. There’s a reason people are turning to suicide as a result. This is a heart breaking reality. After hearing about my close friend suffering I felt the urge to speak out about this so here it is. It’s okay to not be okay. You are not alone; you are not your mental illness. I never look at my friend and think that they’re defining feature is their disorder. There is so much more to people then their anxiety, depression, OCD, or bipolar disorder. There are also so many options available to those who may be feeling similarly. Always look for help because there are people who love and care about each of us and it’s okay to ask for help. University counselors, suicide prevention lines, friends and family, GP doctors; they are all available to help you with whatever you’re going through. There are always people to turn to, I am here telling you that you matter and I’m here. Do not feel ashamed or labeled by your own ailments, they don’t define you and there is nothing wrong with speaking out about it. I am not my mental illness, and neither are you.