Double standards much?
Depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder… All are legitimate illnesses.
Although psychiatric disorders manifest differently than cancer, they are no less severe.
Just as no one would choose to suffer from heart disease or a broken leg, no one would choose to struggle with clinical depression or anorexia.
Telling someone to “just get over” their mental illness is hugely invalidating and often makes the person feel much worse.
A little sensitivity really does go a long way.
You can check out one of my previous posts on stigma here.
Speaking of ‘your story’, why not share your experience of mental illness?
Maybe you suffer from PTSD.
Maybe you’re recovering from an eating disorder.
Maybe you’re the child, sibling or caregiver of someone with depression.
Whatever your connection to mental illness and the fight against stigma, your voice is invaluable.
Looking for inspiration? You can read about Alta’s experiences of severe anxiety here.
Everyone has a story…
It’s terrifically important to be able to share your experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly – with someone who shows interest in your life and listens wholeheartedly to what you have to say.
Plight-blurting is practically an accredited form of therapy!
For many people who struggle with mental illness, the accompanying sense of isolation and shame can make an already awful situation that much harder to cope with.
Ours is a fast-paced world, but please, make time to listen.
It’s a privilege to see someone “unfold quite wonderfully” through the warmth of your attentions – and a gift to the other person as well.
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was an American poet and author. She suffered severe depression for most of her life.
In her poetry and prose, Plath wrote about subjects that were highly taboo in the 1950s and 1960s, such as mental illness and suicide. Examples of this include Plath’s largely autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, and poems such as Daddy and Lady Lazarus.
Sylvia Plath committed suicide in 1963, at the age of 30. In 1982, Plath was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer prize for The Collected Poems.
Find out how you can share your experiences of mental illness here.
Thanks Mr Vonnegut!
Who’d guess that the author of a book called Slaughterhouse-Five could have such an uplifting (yet sweetly cynical) slant on life?
Sobbing spells, panic attacks, implosions of spirit. Symptoms of mental illness have a dastardly habit of striking at the most inconvenient moments.
Then again, there’s hardly a convenient time to dissolve into a puddle of snot, tears and low self-worth…
On particularly rough days – the days you don’t think you can survive – remind yourself that your track record is 100% so far.
And that’s spectacular.
Go Glenn! The actress who notoriously played a bunny-boiling psychopath in Fatal Attraction is now a leading mental health advocate.
Do you think celebrity has a place in advancing social causes?
Come on down, Meredith Grey!
It’s no secret the protagonist of hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy has had her ups and downs. After all, she did try to drown herself in Season 3 and has since had to deal with a lot of death, destruction and (probably) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This quote sums up nicely the importance of accepting those days and moods that aren’t euphoric – or even mildly cheerful. If therapy has taught me anything it’s that every feeling is valid, and little good can come from squashing down your true emotions to maintain a happy facade.
It’s okay to feel however you feel today. Better to be grumpy and authentic than imploding behind a false grin.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”