Quit Being Ashamed of your Mental Illness

Why are so many people ashamed to admit they have a mental illness?

They are ashamed to admit it because mental illnesses have such a negative stigma.

It is 2017, yet society still can’t accept that having a mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy.

Educate yourself people! Think of it this way, there are two individuals standing in front of you. Melissa is in her forties.  She is 5’6″ tall and weighs 165 pounds.  Angie just graduated from college.  She is 5’5″ and 150 pounds.  Both women are attractive and appear to be healthy. Melissa and Angie have both been diagnosed with an illness.

Both women were admitted into the hospital when they were first diagnosed with their illness. Their stays were very similar.  Melissa and Angie both went through a series of tests, they were educated on their illness, & given medication.  Follow up appointments were scheduled and they were sent home.

The illnesses these women were fighting were due to an organ in their body that was not functioning properly.  One organ was the pancreas and the other organ was the brain.  Melissa’s diagnosis was diabetes.  She went home and talked to her family about her illness.  Melissa explained what she needed from them and what her treatment would be.  She asked them for help and support.  Angie’s diagnosis was bi-polar disorder. She was devastated.  Angie kept her illness hidden from her family and friends.  She didn’t get the love and support she needed because she was too ashamed to tell anyone.  Angie felt so alone and her illness worsened.

Angie’s family would get irritated with her because she could be very moody.  She finally opened up to them and told them that she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and that it is a mental illness.  Sadly, they were skeptical about her diagnosis and told her that she shouldn’t take medication for that.  Angie was told that she just needed to relax more and to quit being so uptight.  “You just need to keep busy and toughen up a little”, they said to her.

Does this story irritate you as much as it does me? Can you imagine Melissa’s parents saying she didn’t need insulin and she needs to toughen up? Of course they wouldn’t say that. Melissa has an illness that is accepted in society.  People know that Melissa can’t help it and diabetes is something people are educated on. There is no difference in Angie’s diagnosis..  Angie cannot help it that her brain is not functioning at 100%. She is told to just keep busy and maybe it will go away.

Nothing will change unless more people are educated on mental illnesses.  Having anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder or any other mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.  I’m on a journey to raise awareness to mental health and to help change the negative stigma associated with mental illness.

Do your part.  Educate yourself, and always treat mental illness the same as any other illness.  God Bless.