“Each of us can make a difference. But TOGETHER we can make a change”.

Recently a lot of people have gotten into the series “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix. This series displays a vast majority of mental health issues that teenagers face in their many growing years.

When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with a mental health condition. I suffer from severe depression. I have practiced self-care for many years along with therapy, to help alleviate my episodes of sadness, and writing was one of those tools. Writing has become a necessity for me, and proved to be an invaluable way to lessen my anxiety and to help with managing my depression.

Kate Spade’s recent passing has started an uproar of awareness regarding suicide that was no where to be seen before. No one was aware she was suffering from mental illness the same as Robin Williams. Why is it still such a taboo to speak out on mental health when it’s very real?

I’ll tell you why, because in today’s society we have found it to be more acceptable to discuss visually noticeable diseases and traumas. The brain cannot be seen; therefore, goes unnoticed. However, everything happening to us, each thought we have, each emotion we face, all comes from the chemicals and hormones our mind releases. This is how our brain controls the messages it relays.

I recently spent a couple of days in the hospital in a psych unit where I was able to purely witness things from a journalistic capacity. I felt like I was ripped out of my normal environment and placed in an episode of American Horror Story Asylum. People had real illnesses and it made me shift the lens from which I viewed even my own mental illness. Although not as severe as many others, people battling mental health rarely ever become completely aware of it. There is still a part of us that wants to believe we are perfectly healthy, because of the stigma.

Until this stigma is removed from “mental illness”, and our current society truly, genuinely accepts it as an illness.. those suffering from these illnesses will continue to hide their condition(s).

Depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, anorexia, substance abuse, anxiety, borderline etc. are just a few very common mental health disorders. They feed the mind messages that are not true. Our mind will send mixed signals sometimes. We start to become fearful of daily activities or things that we should not be fearful of. Our mind begins to set in this feeling that we are not good enough or don’t deserve to live because our mind feels as if things won’t get better.

Our brain is a tricky beast. It will have you convinced that everyone is out to get you, looking at you, and/or judging you. And sadly, the last sentence comes with TRUTH! People do judge those with mental illness!

Yet would you judge someone with a visually acceptable disease such as heart issues, or cancer? Or would you tell them to just “get over it?” As though people suffering from mental ILLNESS could somehow just wish it away? Don’t you think we would if we could?!

These mental illnesses may impact us daily, but I’ll let you know they won’t ever define us! We are daily survivors who fight a battle no one will ever be able to see. “Each of us can make a difference. But TOGETHER we can make a change”.

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