I was inspired by a song today, and I thought it would be the perfect introduction to today’s post.
The Mental Illness Stigma – We’re All in This Together
On the outside, you look normal–maybe even happy. You could also have a happy life full of people that love you, a job, a car, and a life that is decent to the outside world. None of that means that you are not fighting an invisible illness on the inside.
With mental illness for most the fight is in silence behind closed doors. It happens in your mind, and you fight a war. Battles are fought and lost, and most people have no idea. You’re different, and your brain just works differently–that makes you afraid. This is what I like to call the stigma.
Let’s face it. When we first learn that we have a mental illness, it is easier to believe there is nothing really wrong with us, that “they” are lying. I could be wrong, but this was my first thoughts when I was diagnosed over eleven years ago. How could these people do this to me? I wanted to blame everyone but myself (I will talk about this more in another blog post.) The truth is that I was afraid of what the world would think if I was really Bipolar.
I was afraid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. I had seen in my own life how mental illness was treated. I had always thought that people of mental illness were “faking.” Yes, I was part of the problem. It is the way that people condition those with a mental illness.
When there is a mass shooting or someone killing others with a gun they are considered monsters and mentally ill. I know I see it every time. To me, this is false and something that only continues to make it worse for those just beginning their mental illness journey. I denied for many years that there was something wrong with me, and it was only seven years ago that I decided I was Bipolar. That I would never again let the stigma define who I was in this life.
I have met so many amazing people on this mental illness journey. These people want nothing more than to exist in a world that doesn’t fully understand what is going on in their life. If you have never lived a day where you are consumed by the helplessness that comes with a mental illness, then you will never really know. That is why I say we are all in this together.
This community, the mental illness community is an amazing place. I have been a part of this experience now for over a year, and together we bring ourselves up with positivity and sharing our experiences with one another.
We have to educate those who don’t understand. Those that are just beginning this strange and difficult that is scary. We do this by sharing our stories and experiences. We let the world know that that there is nothing wrong with having a mental illness. Together we continue to fight the stigma.
Stay strong in the fight.
Always Keep Fighting