So, as we know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I’ve been thinking about stigma. How to eradicate it. The answer must be imparting knowledge; teaching.
The area where I’ve seen the most ignorance across the board, and have personally experienced, is to do with medication. I hear that psych meds are poison and unnecessary. I have heard the following.
Just go outside.
Just lighten up.
Get in shape.
Granted, all of that helps, but Bipolar Disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is a direct result from something wrong in your brain. If you have something wrong with an organ in your body, you treat it.
My own family has called me a pill-popper and told me I’m weak. Please. You do this for 20 years, and then talk to me about what is weakness and what is strength.
Invisible illnesses can sometimes be the most difficult to understand or grasp, I suppose. A person has an appendectomy and people bring them food for a week. A person goes through a depressive cycle and people might say stop moping, and they certainly don’t bring meals.
So, I will just wrap up by saying people with Bipolar, with mental illnesses, with invisible chronic illnesses, are incredibly strong and brave. We’re also empathetic because we know suffering. I assure you, if I could exercise my way right on out of this, if it was that easy, well…I wouldn’t even have a blog because I would be cured.
We are fighters.
We are creative.
We are dreamers.
We are helpers.
We are intelligent.
The emotional reactions – good and bad – that we have are multiplied by ten.
Through it all, we have careers, raise children, help others, and have the foresight to know to give our husbands our medications during a particularly bad week, so that we don’t swallow them all. That’s not weakness. That kind of strength requires a raw vulnerability. It’s not easy.
If you have someone in your life dealing with MI or any other invisible disease, just reach out and speak to them. Ask how they are, and tell them you want to understand more. I bet when they are able, they will help educate you.✌🙏🎗
What are some of the worst things you’ve heard or experienced that made you feel awful for having a chronic and/or mental illnesses? I’m interested to hear from people with diseases such as depression, anxiety, autism, bipolar and schizophrenia to name a few.
I mean, just check out this chart below. Certainly got my blood boiling.
I’ve experienced the misuse of terms.
“This weather is so Bipolar!”
“When she’s on her period, she’s mental.”
And don’t even get me going on people talking down to me about med use. People in my family even, for Pete’s sake.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Let’s try to educate ourselves and others, comfort and care for ourselves and each other, and try to chip away at the stigma of the ignorant. (Not stupid. Ignorant. Uneducated. Two different things.)
Creation is beautiful. From the moment you first have an idea of something you want to create, to seeing it all the way through to its completion, it is an extraordinary process.
Think on this for a bit. In one moment, there’s nothing there, and in the next moment, there is existence. Poof, an origin.
Creation can be cathartic. One moment you’re flustered with writer’s block, and finally the sentence that feels right is typed on the page. You’re on your way. In the middle of the night, you can go to the refrigerator for a water and glance at the craft table and think to yourself that the yellows and oranges should be the predominant colors on the wreath. An hour later, you notice you never made it back to your bedroom, and you never drank the water, but the gorgeous wreath is now complete and ready to be hung in the living room or sold at next month’s summer festival.
Whatever it is that is your jam – whether it be writing, making table centerpieces, cooking, singing, drawing, painting, photography, posting encouraging videos, fostering animals until they’re adopted – you are creating. Creating something of love and motivation and kindnesses to others. There was once nothing where there now resides something.
That something, along with the smile that graced your face while you constructed it, is a thing of beauty. Let’s face it, we need more smiling and beauty in the world. I’m not going to get all sappy and tell you to stop and smell the roses, except wait, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Please stop and smell the roses. Please stop and look at the things you do well and feel the pride you deserve. Please stop and look at the things in your life that you created and smile. Then, go do more of it.
Please reach out for help if you or a loved one need it. There is assistance if you have, or suspect, a Mental Illness, or if you’re a family member or friend who needs support and education. Often times, loved ones don’t think they should ask for help, or do not even know it’s offered.
What I’m about to say is a basic truth, even if it’s not always easy. I almost began this entry saying it can be difficult to write regarding certain issues if those issues include your family, because I want to honor their privacy as well. But here’s the bottom line.
You do you.
Take care of you. Prioritize yourself. Tell others when you need help. It is not selfish. It’s not a cliché; it’s the truth. If you are not taking care of yourself, you cannot help others.