As Kevin Breel said,
“…unfortunately, we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma. We are so, so, so accepting of any body part breaking down, other than our brains. And that’s ignorance. That’s pure ignorance. And that ignorance has created a world that doesn’t understand depression, that doesn’t understand mental health.”
I can tell you this is 100% true. I came back from eating disorder treatment to my job as an ICU nurse. I’m an upfront, honest person and if people asked me where Id been I told them the truth.
After that… silence… very awkward silence… Like I was an alien, not a human being who ‘d been having a hell of a time.
Before I left for treatment, I came to work happy. Everyone was chatty and nice. When I came back though I felt alone and left out.
I didn’t mean to isolate, but I wasn’t sure how to engage when I felt insecure and that people were judging me for what I’d gone through.
I knew people weren’t accepting me, but I didn’t know why and took it really personally. I’m a human being to ya know? I’m just like everyone else, just wanting to feel included. I’d gone through the hardest thing in my life and wasn’t going to give up but…
Hadn’t I already suffered enough?
It wasn’t like I broke an arm or any physical ailment really, I’d just lost a whole picture I’d had of my life, body, identity… Crushed… All because my brain was messed up and my eating disorder was controlling me… No big deal or anything. I can’t hide from my PTSD, depression, anxiety, or my eating disorder. That’s why I chose to embrace it and in turn was the outcast… Again… But is it really a bad thing?
Maybe I should have just stayed quiet?
Said I took a hiatus, sabbatical, something. To be stigmatized for something like this hurt. Then to try and be open about it just to help gain awareness is so unbelievable that people are so rude and closed-minded. I realized though that it doesn’t matter how I acted because people are going to react however they felt and it was up to me to choose how I want my life to be.
I can’t help that I need multiple medicines right now to balance my anxiety and depression. Do you think I choose this? Trust me I don’t. I try alternative methods such as meditation and CBD, but you try being in my head for one day, It’s a daily battle.
I can’t sit here and judge anyone around me, because I know how hard life can be. We ALL have our struggles. I just wish mental illnesses were more closely monitored and taken seriously. Mental illnesses can be just as bad if not worse that some physical problems.
Have you ever gone through anything similar to this? Feeling stigmatized for something out of your control is not fair and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I’m choosing to embrace the silence, knowing that one day mental illnesses will be taken more seriously and I’m doing my best to be an advocate.
I still struggle with feeling discriminated against, but if I dwell on it then I get more depressed. I have to choose to accept that people don’t understand and live knowing I’m okay no matter what. Let’s choose to focus on the positives in our life and come together to end the stigma. It’s okay to not be accepted, truthfully it just makes us more special.
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