You know your illness – get to know it better. Don’t let the stigma associated with it blindside you or drop you to the pavement. Fight back with the aid of your doctor and your therapist, your medication, your family and your friends. Above all, do not be ashamed of who you are. You’re a beautiful human being and you deserve to be recognized as such. Spread your wings and soar.
There is an incredible amount of stigma regarding anti-psychotic medications and unfortunately, the majority of America would automatically associate these types of medications with what they see in crime movies involving “mad houses.” However, to joke about something like this…to be quite honest, it offended me.
I ardently promote the idea that love connects us all. Familial love, the love between friends, a general sense of love for the world – it brings us together in our quest for sound mental health and a stable sense of belonging. Love is that big box of everything good about Homo sapiens. At our best, human beings are sentient creatures whose sole purpose is to love.
People have held the assumption of me that because I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness and de-stigmatization, that I have to be “all better,” or else I can’t promote the way I do. However, I never want to appear as if I’m “all better” and promote the “I got through it and so can you” type story. As many others out there, my mental illness is a work in progress too.
I’m alive because people care. I’m alive because there are trained professionals who do what it takes. I am alive because, regardless of the Voices and Suggestions, I found a way to follow my plan. I reached out when I needed help, when I knew that my illness wanted to kill me, and it failed because I didn’t. I survived because I fought back, and I did so in the ways designed by my doctor and my team and me.
I wonder if it’s possible to have Major Depression and ever live completely without the fear of it paralyzing me into oblivion. Then again, trying to surmise about my future is robbing me of my present. If I had a dime for every time I’ve been told to live for today, I’d have a boatload of coins stuck behind my sofa cushions.
If there’s one thing I regret so far this year, it’s not getting a flu shot. Against my doctor’s strong recommendation, I chose to forego getting the vaccine. I’d heard it only works 60 to 70% of the time, and my stubbornness combined with apprehension of having a live virus injected into my arm, simply as a precautionary method, with no guarantee, didn’t seem worth the risk.
At this point in history we are moving toward a more tolerant society where being who you are by nature is no longer a crime. Why then, I have to ask, does our country continue to maintain the errant belief that people living with a mental illness are an allowable target for public aggression?
If any of you are sliding into depression this winter I do have one consoling fact. Our days are getting longer now by one to two minutes of extra daylight per day. I, for one, am happy about this. For those of you who live in areas that don’t usually get such cold I really feel sorry for you. Hang in there!