Breaking the Mental Illness Stigma

wp-1583510735238867549379477759490.jpgMental health comes with one heck of a stigma and I think it’s about time that we talk about it!  There are so many people that are affected by various mental health issues, whether it is themselves or someone that they know.  I am one of them.  I have personally battled many mental health issues my entire life.  I spend so much time blogging about my autoimmune life, but I have left out an equally important part of my life, and it’s time to bring it out of the closet so to say.

At 17 years old I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  I was probably Bipolar as a young child, but my parents had little to no interest in taking me to seek help for my various issues and meltdowns.  By 17 years old, I sought help for myself, by myself.  I had the classic symptoms:  the highs (mania) and the lows (depression).  The mania caused me to partake in high-risk behaviors and other things that would probably terrify my mother to know.  Severe social anxiety was also a battle for me and by my 20’s I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and PTSD (another issue that I won’t go into too much detail at this time).

walt-whitman-inspirational-quote.jpgI have suffered and struggled with the demons in my mind for so many years, that it now seems normal to me.  I do recognize that my mental diagnoses have an effect on my autoimmune life, and sadly I tend to brush it off as nothing and keep it hidden from the world.  This has to stop and it has to stop now.

The negative undertones of mental illness will not go away if we continue to suffer in silence, hiding away our true selves.  My goal in life is to help others through my writings and my struggles.  My hope is that this blog finds someone who is suffering in silence and they seek out the help that they need.

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Cali (on the left) and my sister, Lauren (on the right)

My family lost a dear friend many years ago to suicide.  She was my sister’s best friend, and a frequent visitor to our home.  Sadly nobody knew her demons and she lost her battle on January 11, 2005.  Her name was Cali and she chose my birthday to make her final exit.  There is not a day that goes by that she is not thought of or remembered with a sadness that tugs on our hearts.  Every time that I see a young person struggling with mental issues, I remember Cali and try to do anything and everything that I can to stop that from happening to anybody else.  And if I can help just one single person, then my effort will be well worth it.

If you are struggling, please get help.  The Suicide Prevention Hotline really is an excellent, confidential resource to use.  And yes… I have had to use it myself.  They can refer you to someone local to you for help or just talk to you.  And for those of us who prefer to text they will text with you instead and continue to text with you until you are feeling better and safe again.  Please don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.

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