I’ve been staring at this blank blog post for a while now, wondering how I can express myself in order to raise awareness and understanding for Mental Health issues, considering it is May. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is also the month of my birthday.
Mental Illness is difficult. Some days are better than others. Some days take you right down to your core and you feel like you can’t fight anymore, but you get back up anyway. Mental Illness is misunderstood. We’re not crazy, we’re just ill. And we need support, we need help. Mental Illness has too much stigma. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – we didn’t decide to become mentally ill, just like people don’t decide to break their leg or get cancer. We’re just ill.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so let me tell you to be aware… (taken from May 2015)
- Be aware that sometimes I want you to notice me but I can’t ask for your help
- Be aware that my medication sometimes makes me tired. Sometimes it makes my Mental Illness worse – it worsens my panic attacks, my self harm and my suicidal feelings.
- Be aware that I have feelings too. I’m not crazy, I’m just not very well at the moment. I don’t want you to isolate me and treat me like I’m a freak.
- Be aware that I didn’t choice this Mental Illness. It chose me. My brain is not doing so good at the moment, this is not my fault.
- Be aware that I put up a front and pretend to be happy because I don’t want to hurt everyone around me. Because I feel ashamed that I’m ill.
- Be aware that the things you take for granted, such as catching the bus, talking to others, walking into a room of people, are very challenging and difficult for me.
- Be aware that I attach myself to people that make me feel less alone and not invisible, which always leaves me hurt. I’m sorry if my obsession scares you.
- Be aware that when I say “I’m okay” when you ask me if i’m alright, I’m probably not. It’s just an automatic response and saying you’re fine is much less complicated than trying to explain why I feel this way.
- Be aware that when I have suicidal thoughts, its not because I don’t want to live. It’s the illness trying to tell me I’m better off dead. I don’t want to die – I want the pain to stop.
- Be aware that I do have self-harm scars, and yes I see you staring. I accept them, so I’d like you to as well. They are my battle wounds, from when I fought with myself.
- Be aware that when you get to know me, I am a good friend. I like to talk to people, I like going places, I can have fun and I can have friends. It’s just my mental illness means it’s difficult to do that.
- Be aware that being mentally ill is not easy, especially when the people around you don’t understand. And it’s even worse, when the people around you don’t want to understand it. Please understand it is not my fault I am ill. Please me aware that Mental Health Stigma hurts. I’m human too. I’m just not well.
Please be more aware this month than others, and just notice how the people are doing around you. Never be afraid to reach out to those who seem to be struggling – they may appreciate your kindness and interest.
Have a blessed May – be mindful, be observant, be caring, ask questions, and love.