May is Mental Health Month and today in particular is Mental Health Blogging Day. I am a longtime sufferer of mental illness and an advocate for awareness and support through the community support website Band Back Together.
I think days like this are important to let others know that they are not alone in their struggles with mental health issues. Whether you are a sufferer, a friend, a family member, or an acquaintance of someone with a mental health issue, you can educate yourself and others and help make the world a more compassionate and supportive place.
My name is Crystal and I deal with mental illness on a regular basis.
Sometimes I don’t act like ME because I suffer from chronic Depression (diagnosed at age 14), Anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (DES-NOS, specifically). I attend weekly therapy and take medication to help me manage these issues. I have difficulties managing my response to stressful situations and memories due to the way that my brain processes information/stimuli – multiple traumas throughout my life have impacted the way I view and experience the world around me.
Despite dealing with these issues for so much of my life, I can still live a normal life – I am not ‘crazy.’ I have a wonderful relationship with my husband and son. I have a great job at a place I’ve worked for the past 3.5 years. I have friends and hobbies and many of the same worries that others out there have.
Most days I am a very high functioning individual. Sometimes I need to step back from my responsibilities a little bit and focus on taking extra care of myself. There are those days when I can’t get out of bed – on those days I need help from my support network of family and friends. I have fantastic people in my life who have helped me even when they don’t know it.
I have heard various awful things said about those who suffer from mental illness over the years, even from people I love. The stigma of mental illness still leads people to state that they wouldn’t vote for a politician who was known to have a mental disorder, or that those with a mental illness should not have children. It’s disheartening to hear these things and I’m hopeful that as we speak out, the stigma will lift more and more.
If you or someone you know suffers from a mental illness, please take the time to educate yourself about the symptoms and effects on their life. If you would like to reach out to a community for support please visit Band Back Together.
- BB2G Bringing Happy Back: Kudos to Me (bandbacktogether.com)
- Get On Your Boogie Shoes For the Mental Health Blog Party (yourmindyourbody.org)
- I’m Not A Bad Mom Because I Take Medication (blogher.com)