Stop Stigmatizing & Start Supporting

I couldn’t let Mental Health Awareness Month pass by without writing about my own struggles. As some of you may already know, I suffer from depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and some pretty severe social anxiety. It’s a part of me that I cannot eliminate completely, but I have learned to accept it and manage it to the best of my ability. Medication helps to bring the severity down a couple notches, and through therapy and frequent self-evaluation, I have developed strategies that help me cope with my mental illnesses.

Mental illness doesn’t take a day off, but some are definitely worse than others. Emotionally charged days. Days I have been guilty of speaking and behaving rashly because my emotions have taken full control. They are getting better because I have come to recognize them quickly and periodically remind myself of my current mental state to prevent myself from making any important decisions or taking any major actions that I am bound to regret when things begin to level back out.

It honestly doesn’t make it any easier, though. My brain typically gets lost in full-on pity party mode. Whoa-is-me. A feeling that I absolutely despise. I hate feeling sorry for myself or allowing myself to play the role of the victim, but I try not to beat myself up about it because I know this is only temporary and belittling myself for such things will only make the situation worse.

So on days like this, I try to extend myself a little more kindness and understanding and show myself a bit more love because if I can’t love myself through all my ups and downs, no one else will.

I sincerely hope that in the future, we can all extend this type of love and understanding to each other instead of bullying or ignoring another because of their mental illness. These issues are obviously not going to disappear, but with a little more support backing us, those like me can drastically reduce the impact that mental illness can have and dramatically improve their overall quality of life.

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