Hi everyone, World Mental Health Day is very significant for us! It’s a day meant to shed light on mental illness and help break the stigmas that unfortunately remain. Why are these stigmas so important to break? Because they’re harmful to us all! It prevents too many people from sharing what they’re going through and seeking out treatment. I’ve hid my problems from different people many times and kept it all inside which only make things worse. Stigmas can also sadly exist among family and friends which removes the essential aspect of having a good support system with your loved ones. Stigmas also create problems at work, school and generally makes the lives of sufferers 10 times harder. Essentially, not only do we have to bear the weight of our disorder, we also live with the fear of being stereotyped, prejudiced against and discriminated.
Mental Illnesses aren’t real illnesses:
This is completely false! Mental illness is just as real as any other illness. If someone has a cast for a broken bone we can clearly see that the person is hurt right? But just because the damage isn’t so physically visible does NOT mean that it’s not an illness and doesn’t need treatment!
“Mental Illness will never affect me”:
Again, incorrect! “Researchers estimate that as many as one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year.” In addition, everyone is affected in some way or other by having an illness at one point during their lives or by knowing someone who has one.
These people are more violent and dangerous:
Actually, those with mental illness are no more prone to violence than anyone else. They are also more likely to hurt themselves than others.
Mental Illnesses aren’t curable:
Effective therapy, learning coping mechanisms, changing thought patterns, medication and many other options are available for people to recover. Even longer-lasting disorders can can be managed so as to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
Being on medication for mental illness is weak and shameful:
Would you say to someone with diabetes that taking their insulin is weak and shameful? Of course not! Well it’s the same thing with a mental illness. Again, just because it isn’t visible doesn’t make it any less real. These are real illnesses that can cause tremendous amounts of pain and a lot of impairment. If not treated (with medication or otherwise), the results can be devastating. Focus on your health and ignore the ignorance that appears to abound!
Some of these debunked myths come from the CMHA.
Words of Encouragement
- You are not alone in this fight!
- There ARE people who understand what you’re going through and can offer support.
- You absolutely DO deserve help and you’re not weak for seeking it.
- Things really can get better, I promise.
- You never know what amazing thing is just around the corner!
- Don’t let anyone shame you for ‘not snapping out of it’ or believe that you’re a failure if you hear “just get over it already”. That’s not how it works and you don’t deserve to hear those lies.
- When someone clearly doesn’t understand, try to remind yourself that it’s them who lack the knowledge. You can take it with a grain of salt.
- Try to treat yourself as you would treat someone you love; because even though you may not love yourself now, that feeling doesn’t have to last forever.
- You deserve to be happy and healthy in every possible way. What you are experiencing is not a punishment for any mistake.
- You are not a bad person, and remember that when you feel this bad you’re not at your best. It doesn’t reflect on you as a person.
- If what you see in the mirror makes you sad, angry, disappointed, etc., treat it like one of those amusement park distorted mirrors. It’s quite possible that your mind is creating that very effect. (First hand experience over here.)
- You are NOT your mental illness! Don’t let it define you because I promise that you are so much more than that!
Before I show you some adorable photos, I’d like to share something deeply personal and significant for me. On this day, October 10th 2020, it has been 220 days since my last suicide attempt which continues to haunt me. But the more distance I put between myself and that date, the better. What is even more special to me is that it’s been 124 days since I made the decision to live. I can’t tell you how much this means to me, and I hope it can somehow inspire you.
Stay strong and try to be kind and patient with yourself. I believe in you and we are ALL rooting for you!