It’s been less than a week since starting this blog and while my community is still small I have been touched by the responses to my blog so far. Yet one thing still confuses me.
Why am I so brave for talking about this?
I continuously get comments about my bravery and, while I am touched, it is not something I feel I deserve. Why should I feel more proud than a blogger who writes about food, fashion, or travel? Bipolar is what I know.
Of course, I know why I am considered brave to do this. So many people can’t.
Did you know 1-2 in every 50 adults you come across have Bipolar. And if you increase it to all mental illnesses, it’s 1 in 3.
This means there are a lot of people out there having to face the question of whether they should face the stigma and let someone know, or shoulder the burden themselves and be safe from the judgement of the world.
Which is awful!
To face the judgement is to be belittled, not taken seriously, and subjected to cruel stereotypes.
But to shoulder the burden ourselves? Doing so causes people to not get help, to continue with this illness that’s hurting them for fear of seeming “weak”, and worst of all it causes them to take their lives because they had no one to talk to.
So what can we do?
We need to create a world where people who have mental illness are treated with the same respect, care and dignity as those suffering from any other illness.
We need to educate people, to let them know that mental illness is something that can hit anyone regardless of who they are and where they come from in life, and has nothing to do with being weak.
We need to shut out harmful messages in the media that portray the mentally ill as dangerous or harmful.
We need to create a world where someone can tell their friend that they’re ill without fear of judgement, where someone won’t be denied employment because it’s known that they’re sick, and where a scared person can seek help without more fear.
And to do this we need to be open, in whatever way we can.
Maybe I am brave for publishing my experiences for the world to see. But I reckon I’m just an idealist who’s already living in a world where mental illness is given the same consideration as any other illness. Come join me?