My mental health problems shape me. They are part of me – like a broken nose can change a face. As much as I want to run away from it, kill it in the middle of the night and do anything to rid it from me, I can’t. I am ill, and I always will be. But I am not weak, I find everything much harder than the ‘average’ person.
In the past, when I have spoken about my mental health conditions, I have either been called “brave”, or patted on the back and told to “sort myself out”. I don’t know which is worse. Is it brave to talk about something that burdens me every day? Can I really sort out an illness that changes the way that I think? In all of these points, I’ve sought for someone else to not only bring up some statistic and then tell me I’m not alone, but to share with me a story of how they cope. But I don’t hear those tales.
Stigma does not only harm us in that society ignores our existence – it prevents recovery. The last thing anyone wants when they are ill is to be alone. And so many of us are.
How many have us spent nights alone, weeping out of a gut-wrenching misery that has no logical cause? How many have spent their days waking to terrifying nightmare that only later becomes apparent that it is not true? How many of us cannot make any close connections? How many?
Silence is dead. It’s time to talk. It’s Time to Change.