I’m talking conversations about mental health. All mental health diagnosis still carry a stigma. Even seemingly “normal” ones like anxiety. I’m not talking about feeling anxious about an approaching event or that feeling of anxiety when you have to go to the dentist or doctor. I’m talking real anxiety. Where your mind takes off in a direction you can’t control and there’s no calming down nor is there a happy ending in the scenario you have now decided could only be the new reality. I won’t even get into a genuine panic attack. Those who know; know.
It’s wrong that there are still quiet, whispering conversations about our mental health. I am respecting the privacy of those who have confided to me what they face and fight on a daily basis. I’m honored to be part of peoples’ support system. It’s not easy to describe the pit of depression. The feeling that you truly believe the world and those in your circle would be better off without you in it. It’s painful. I used to think people who committed suicide were selfish. That they never thought of their loved ones when they make that decision to end their own lives. Quite the contrary! The pain of living with the depression coupled with the feelings of hopelessness and despair and feeling you are less than nothing in this life push one to the edge, the brink of wanting the pain to end. It’s terrible and scary and lonely.
It’s scary to even reach out for help. Brave yet scary. No one wants to think they could be hospitalized for what they are experiencing if they are completely and unabashedly honest with a physician who specializes in mental health. But… if someone is suffering from a physical disorder there is no shame in seeking help and/or taking medication to treat the physical, a tangible illness.
I’m writing this because there are people who need to know they are not alone. So, so far from alone. I have people in my life that I worry about daily. And I have to keep my own anxiety in check when I think about the silent battle they face. We can all say until we are blue in the face that mental health diagnosis shouldn’t come with a stigma or misunderstanding attached; yet here it is the end of 2022 and we haven’t come far at all, IMO anyway.