Coming Out of the Mental Health Closet

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.

If we talked about other conditions the way we talk about mental illness

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?

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Coming Out of the Mental Health Closet

  1. This post hit me. I am a psychology graduate (not by choice) but I sometimes forget that i should understand what other people go through. It takes great effort to understand someone who has mental illness. Thank you!

    Like

  2. I love your post! My fraternal twin brother has a mental illness and some people do not understand what he goes through. I sometimes daydream about lashing out to those individuals but I know better and just wish that perhaps one day people will understand and treat everyone with respect they deserve.

    Like

    1. Hello Eduardo, thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope your brother is able to find a group of people who can support and understand him like he deserves, and in the mean time he should be proud to have a brother like you. Having even just one person who respects what they are going through can be a massive blessing.

      Like

  3. Every word in this post is so true. I am a mental health nurse and although the stigma has improved over the last thirty odd years it still has a long way to go for everyone to feel free to discuss the subject. It can definitely happen to anyone at anytime.

    Like

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s