It has been months since I last posted a blog and for that I am disappointed in myself. I got the inspiration for this post from a friends’ Facebook post the other night. It was basically about not wanting to talk meds or see a doctor. This was the comment that I left:
“While I do agree that meds don’t solve everything, I feel like you’re doing yourself a disservice by not taking them if needed. The stigma surrounding mental health is real and to think that it can be cured on it’s own or that it will just go away is reckless. For some people, that may be true. Severe mental illness can’t just be left alone to go away because it won’t. That’s, again, reckless. It’s like not getting vaccinated. You may not like the side effects but the actual disease is worse. Also, what you’re saying is kind of a slap in the face to people that do have serious mental illnesses and are on medication for them. Not everything can be solved by medication, that is true but most things also can’t be solved by just ignoring them.”
I just want to say that this post is in no way directed that the friend whose status I posted this on. These are my own thoughts on the matter.
Mental illness is something that affects tens of thousands, if not millions, of people globally. It is an insidious illness. It is invisible, which to some people means that it isn’t as serious as physical injury or disability. As someone who knows better, I am telling you that mental illness affects you just as much, if not more, as any physical ailment out there. It can be absolutely debilitating.
When I was younger, I wanted no part of seeing psychologists or psychiatrists and if anyone mentioned taking medication, I laughed them off. If it were prescribed, I would pretend to take it but would hide it in a drawer. I wanted no part of the mental health system because of the innate stigma that is attached to it. Mental illness doesn’t make you crazy, or violent or less of a person like many people think it does. Honestly, I would say that people with mental illness are some of the strongest people alive. That is the honest truth.
I’m not going to go on about this topic because obviously it’s sensitive but the recent gun violence in America has been widely attributed to mental illness. There’s no gun problem, there’s a mental illness problem. That statement gets to me. That statement is painting all those with mental illness as violent criminals who would go and cause harm to others. That is very rarely the case. I’m Canadian, and we have gun control laws. You can’t tell me that that’s a bad thing.
Mental illness is real and it is absolutely something that is overlooked in our society. We can do more for those who suffer in silence. I am seeing a psychiatrist at the University that I attend. Yes, he has prescribed medication. I’m not sure why this is embarrassing to say. If I had cancer and was getting chemotherapy, I wouldn’t be ashamed. I broke my foot about a month ago and went to the ER to see a doctor and I wasn’t ashamed.
It is shameful how worried people are to talk about mental illness. It’s like it’s taboo or something. The stigma surrounding it is so real and so strong. That is the problem. We as a society need to talk about it and bring it out into the open because that is the only way that people are really going to get the help that they need. There is no reason for someone with a mental illness to feel stigmatized and it is sad that some still do.
Let’s talk about mental health. If you need help, find it within yourself to ask for it. Tell someone that you’re struggling. The psychiatrist that I see is freaking amazing and I never feel judged or scrutinized. He will never push meds on me, and believes that I will make the right choice. Having someone to talk to is an incredible gift. If you know that you need help, please seek it. There is no shame in that!
Along with being an advocate for those with disabilities, I am also one for mental health. It is SO important to get the message out there for people to not feel ashamed to seek help.
Mental illness does not make you crazy.