It saddens me that there is still such a stigma around having a mental illness.
I grew up in such an open environment where talking about our feelings was encouraged. My mom never hid her symptoms from my brother and I and because of that she taught me not to hide my symptoms from the people I love.
When I went away to university I realized that not every household or every culture was like that. I saw men and women struggling to tell the ones around them that they were having a hard time. I saw the look on professors faces when the reason someone couldn’t hand in an assignment was because they were struggling with their mental health. I was truly astounded by the complete ignorance some people had.
Then I became an influencer and my astonishment only grew.
I connect with women each and every day that are struggling with your mental health yet are scared to tell the ones they love. They come to me (essentially a stranger) to ask me for advice and to talk to me about their problems. Although I am so grateful that women from everywhere are coming to me, I know that if they are coming to me it means that they are not going to their family members.
It can be so much easier to tell strangers how you are feeling compared to telling your family you are going through another depressive episode. I never really understood that until I went completely off of my medication.
I was struggling silently for the first three days. I didn’t want to tell my family or even my boyfriend because I felt like I was going to get blamed. I felt like because I was the one who decided I wanted to go off of my antidepressants it was my fault I was feeling depressed. I didn’t want to be judged, so I hid my episodes and I pretended everything was okay.
I talked to my following on my IG stories and I wrote in my journal but there was no way in hell I was going to talk to Kirk (my boyfriend) about what I was dealing with.
Then last night I put on my big girl panties and told my family.
I opened up to my mom and told her that .. no I wasn’t doing very well right now, but I also did not want to go back on my medication. I opened up to Kirk and told him that .. yes this was my decision, but he had to support it because it was ultimately for the health of our future children.
My mom was understanding, Kirk took it hard at first but then he came around. Was it easy to tell the people I love that I wasn’t doing well? Yes, absolutely.. but it was totally worth it.
The stigma around mental illness is SO real, but it was also created. It was created by ignorant people and people who didn’t want to fight those ignorant people.
To the people who are being ignorant: get your head out of your asses and realize that mental illness is a real thing and no one can help if they have it.
To the people who have a mental illness but are too afraid to tell their loved ones: tell the people you love. They will be there for you.
We need to work together to break the stigma and the only way to do that is to start telling each other when we are not feeling well.