Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. It has exploded on twitter and it makes me smile to know that there are so many people in this world who struggle with the same issues that I do. It also makes me smile knowing that there are so many people speaking out about their illnesses despite society constantly dehumanizing us for having them.
Mental illnesses have always been something I struggled with. Although when I first started struggling I didn’t know they were called mental illnesses and I merely thought I was some emo freak who wanted to die for attention, because that’s what society told me.
I can remember the first time I ever thought about killing myself in seventh grade and how I thought would never be happy. I remember thinking that I belonged in an insane asylum which is why it showed up in every single one of my seventh grade art projects. I laughed it off but secretly thought I belonged in one, because that’s what society told me. I can remember the first night I self-harmed and how I had to cover my arms and legs and stomach at all costs in fear of someone calling me out for being a freak and ostracizing me, because that’s what society told them to do. I can remember defending one of my friends for cutting and saying she was just like us. Each of them told me I was “as crazy as her” for saying something like that, and they were afraid she would kill herself because of the cutting, because that’s what society told them, that everyone who cuts is emo and will kill themselves.
Here I am, 7 years after I wanted to kill myself for the first time. I still do sometimes but I begin to realize that this feeling will pass and it won’t make anything better. I can remember the last time I ever self-harmed, a little bit over a year ago. I remember how happy I was when I was one-year self-harm free and how much I cried on that day because I never thought I would live to see that day.
Today I want society to piss off. Mental illnesses are normal. 1 in 4 people have them. The stigma behind mental illnesses needs to stop. If I post this anywhere, ever, I guarantee most people will not even believe this is something I struggle from, because unlike what society tells you, people who live with mental illnesses can function in everyday society just like those without.
The last thing anyone wants to hear is that it gets better, but the one thing everyone needs to hear is that you are not alone. I needed to hear that 7 seven years ago, I needed to hear that last night. World Mental Health Day exists for people who suffer from mental illnesses to know they are not alone. We may feel like it so often, but we aren’t. This day also exists so that we can end this stigma that accompanies mental illnesses. This stigma is the reason I waited 5 years to get help, the reason so many other wait that long or don’t get help at all. Society has dehumanized people with mental illnesses and this is our day, to show that we are humans and we are just as capable. Everyone fights their own battles, mine just take place inside of me.