Opening up & Ending the Stigma

I think we’re getting closer and closer as a society to try and understand Mental Illness. And thank god for it. I have dealt with anxiety and depression for many years- not really understanding until a few years ago that it was exactly that. I would always question myself “what’s wrong with you- why can’t you just be happy”. I have a pretty great life- but we all know mental illness doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t care about how much money you have, how many friends and family you have that love you, how healthy you are physically. It’s your mind it’s after and when it’s out to get you it can be scary and lonely.

It wasn’t until two and a half years ago that I really realized what was going on. Of course with that- came some very big life changes for me. I left an emotionally and mentally draining relationship. I started really digging and realizing who I am and who I want to be. And without looking I found a partner who reminds me everyday how strong I am and how proud of me he is.

It wasn’t until last year that I started really questioning getting help. Whether it be medication, therapy, or whichever. I was doing research online one day and read an article by Zara Barrie. (

One line stood out to me and since then remains the main reason I pushed through my fears and decided to try medication. It said “the stigma of antidepressants were so deeply ingrained in my brain that I refused to take them, and instead, I chose to suffer from an unshakable sadness that destroyed half of my 20’s.” It was that moment I called the doctor and made an appointment. (No joke). I 100% agree that medication is not for everyone, as every person's mental health is different and can be managed in different ways. But I've heard so many people say (TO ME) "People shouldn't have to take a pill to be happy, no one should be on medication their whole life." If you ask me, that's just ignorance and small minded. WHO says you can't be on medication your whole life? If taking a little white pill daily manages someones chemical inbalance and let's them FEEL feelings again, feel hope, feel happy, then why isn't that allowed? My point is if you take ANY leap to look for help, whether that be talking to a therapist, practicing a healthier lifestyle, or trying out medication, then you are stronger than you know and help WILL find you.

I think people have this misconception of depression and anxiety. They picture someone laying in bed and crying and not doing anything. And while there are MANY severe cases as those, that's not the whole picture. There are many happy-go-lucky people who have great lives and most of the time feel great. But their depression sneaks up on them every so often and it gets in the way of every day life and is hard to manage, when you know you truly are HAPPY. These cases are just as important as the other. Both deserve help, both deserve to feel loved, happy & safe. Both deserve respect and compassion.

Another post that resonated with me was from a good friend, Nicole Whitelaw.

"Opening up about something that makes a lot of people uncomfortable is difficult. And knowing that even in our most vulnerable moments people likely won’t understand or might judge you for something that you can’t necessarily control can be extremely discouraging. That’s the thing with mental health, people don’t want to talk about it until it’s too late. You bring it up and they’ll call you emotional, sensitive or dramatic.. then the second someone’s gone you’ll hear people saying “I wish I would have known” or “I wish there was something I could have done”. So that’s why I talk about it — not to seek attention, not for people to feel bad for me, but to be open and honest, and to show other people that it’s okay to talk about it too. That they don’t have to feel shame for feeling and it’s okay to not be okay all of the time."

I 100% still have ups and downs- as well all do, we’re human. But being able to openly talk about it and listen without judgement helps more than people realize. And as a society I feel we’re getting there. It makes my heart happy. I never wanted to talk about this on the internet before, but then I realized that's exactly why this stigma is around. We need to talk about it, we need to let others know who are suffering that they're not alone and there is hope. If just one person reads this and it makes them realize it’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to get help, then I think we're doing our job. So let’s talk about it! And let's be love, always.

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