Today is the day that social media goes crazy I can guarantee you if you have Facebook Snapchat Twitter Instagram or really any social media platforms today you will hear the words break the stigma or bell let’s talk. today you will read hashtags and see stories. You may have a video sent to your inbox. Maybe you’ll receive a text message or a call, because the world acknowledges today as the day that we yearly ask people to start breaking the stigmas surrounding mental health. I’ve heard the term hundreds or even thousands of times in the last few years but no one seems to stop and question what the stigmas are. So today I am going to share with you some stigmas that I see. Stigmas that I live, that people around me live that need to be broken.
Every mental health struggle is an illness.
In my last post I discussed the difference between Mental Health and Mental Illness, but even still it seems like every person who is sad tends to diagnose themself with depression. One panic attack and people suddenly are telling the world they live with intense generalized anxiety disorder. It seems like everywhere you turn there is people who “think they are depressed” therefore “are depressed” but that is a far cry from the truth. Being diagnosed with a Mental Illness can be intense. The tests can be scary and stretch you- but it's the price you pay for an answer, so although I will not deny you your struggles. I will not deny that you are hurting but there is a fine line between struggling with mental-health and living with a mental illness.
You can just chose to be happy.
It seems that “choose happy” is suddenly everywhere in media. When someone is sad they are suddenly bombarded with people telling them to chose happy, but for someone living with mental illness that may not be an option. For ¼ people (World Health Organization) choosing happy may be nearly impossible. Mental Illness is caused by a chemical or hormonal imbalance in the brain. So choosing happy may not be a possibility if one does not possess the serotonin or endorphins needed to generate happiness.
Mental Illness doesn’t warrant taking medication.
When you have the flu- you take medicine. If you have a cold- you take medicine. Why shouldn’t it be the same if your brain is what is sick. Mental Illness- Illness is right in the word. Although I wouldn’t recommend the medication route for everyone living with a Mental-Illness, I won’t condemn anyone who chooses that route- neither should we as a society. We don’t condemn people who take Tylenol when they are sick with a minor cold- yet somehow the world has a hissy fit when someone who has no desire left to live take something that helps them to get out of bed each day.
Most Indigenous people don’t struggle with mental illness- just laziness.
When Canada wrongfully attempted to assimilate Canada’s First Peoples through Treaties, Residential Schooling and The Sixties Scoop a cycle started of intergenerational trauma- children abused in Residential Schools developed mental illness and did not possess an ability to parent- when they became parents many of the victims of abuse and assimilation efforts struggled to parent and became abusive towards their children and so the cycle of Intergenerational trauma began to occur- and with suicide rates up to 11 times higher than the national average this cycle hasn’t stopped. So these hurting people struggled to get jobs- many turned to alcohol, abuse, violence and drugs as our society has stood and stigmatized and stereotyped our precious Indigenous Peoples.
Mental Illness doesn’t affect people physically.
Many people who are physically sick take an emotional turn. They face sadness when they can’t do what they love- so shouldn’t that be reversed. When you get out of bed in the morning against what you want. When you go through life feeling unworthy of taking care of yourself- your physical health and every other sector of your health will pay.
So what now? I’ve learned that silence upon silence is what keeps the taboo the taboo- so we raise our voices. We share and we share until stigmas are a thing of the past- because no one should have to feel ashamed for what they are facing.
I will leave you my dear readers with this.
No matter what you are facing, hope is real.
No matter what you face in your homes, workplace, relationships or hallways,
hope is real.
No matter what darkness is trying to overtake you, hope is real.
No matter what you think feel or believe, You are Loved.
I will also tell you help is real. The following number can be used in the face of crisis situations with your mental health, feel free to reach out at any moment it may be a scary time but these people are so willing to help you.
Crisis Services Canada (Suicide Prevention):
Toll-Free 24/7: 1.833.456.4566
Text Between 4pm-12am (ET): 45645
Kids Help Phone:
Text 24/7: CONNECT to 686868