Mental health

Acknowledging my Mind

Now that we’re down to the final hours of 2015, I’ve started thinking about next year–well, tomorrow, really– and how I want to progress. I want to leave 2015 okay with who I am. What I mean is that next year, I want to be as open, or at least okay with, speaking about my mental health in my daily life as I am online or on paper.

Today, I ran into a teacher from high school who asked me how I’d been. I openly stated, somewhat flippantly I might add, that I was dealing with mental illness. I tried to brush it off like I’m okay, and ended up crying in the middle of a Target at kind words. In actuality, I’m not okay, I probably won’t ever fully be okay, but just being able to state my situation to someone I don’t frequently communicate with was a step for me.

This made me think about why it’s difficult for me to talk about my mental disorders, or why it’s difficult for anyone, really. Oddly enough, what I find to be the hardest part about talking about my mental health isn’t acknowledging to other people that I have OCD, anxiety, and depression. To me that’s easy, but only because having these things has made me an decent faker in the sense that I can spit out the words “I’m okay/alright” or “I have OCD, anxiety, and depression” as flippantly as I said “dealing with mental illness” to my teacher in that aisle; because, if I try hard enough, I can get away with making it sound like I’m okay and it’s nothing to worry about so people don’t dig deeper, when in actuality those three words are packed with ugliness, pain, struggle, and awful moments/situations that I can’t even begin to describe. What’s the hardest is acknowledging that I am mentally ill.

Saying that I’m mentally ill, accepting, acknowledging, saying out loud that I am mentally ill, is hard. And it shouldn’t be. But it is because there’s a stigma. That stigma is what kept me from accepting medication until it was almost too late, that stigma is what stopped me from seeking the help of a therapist, that stigma is what keeps me from talking about my struggle to people outside of the internet. If I say I’m mentally ill, all I’m saying is that I have mental disorders. But when I say I’m mentally ill, that changes the way I’m perceived. It shouldn’t be this way.

I hope that, in talking about my struggles, in continuing to write about them on this blog, I can reduce the stigma or at least give hope to someone seeking assurance.