May 5th to 9th is mental health awareness week in Ontario. We have many awareness weeks/months in this household that we could participate in (Tourette’s; Autism etc) but Mental Health Awareness is so near and dear to my heart as my son and I both struggle with mental health as well as many other members of my extended family. On this first day of awareness I leave you with this entry that I made in 2011. But first I must say, I agonized over whether to repost this. It is so deeply personal. But I believe I should not have to be ashamed. I don’t wear it as a badge of honour, more as a piece of me that I am sharing to try to increase awareness. Perhaps there will be people that think less of me or try to use it against me. If so, they are the ones that should be ashamed, not me.
Therefore I Share
Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed of
It is not the fault of the person dealing with it.
It is hard for all involved. The individual, family, friends . . .
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of
How many times have I said that in real life, on Facebook, on my blog?
I tell my son this all the time. I tell him that his Bi-Polar and OCD and other illness/disorders are a pesky part of him but they do not define him and they do not make him less of a person. I tell him that he is my hero – having so much on his plate yet getting up each day with a smile on his face. And when it is a bad day (or week) I tell him that’s ok too. He’s entitled. Eventually he will get up again after we help him fight off the demons that haunt him in his head.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.
Just like people are not ashamed of cancer. People are a lot of things at Cancer – scared, mad, frustrated, devastated, determined to name a few. But people are not ashamed of cancer.
A few weeks ago it got really bad really fast. It seemed to hit me out of no where. My brave and amazing husband and friends made sure that I got to the hospital. I stayed for 3 weeks. I was not myself. I was over run with irrational thoughts and overwhelming emotions. I thought the world would be better without me. I thought that my pain, that feeling of deep emptiness, would finally be gone if I were dead. I felt so very very desperate.
I was and still am battling a mental illness. I probably always will in some way.
I share this because I need to not be ashamed. I cannot teach my son and society to accept mental illness if I am ashamed and keep this as a secret. Therefore I share.