Today is world mental health day. One year ago I made a post called “Society Told Me.” Today, that post still rings true and still hits close to home. Today I want to share that post again but change it up a little bit to share how I have changed in the past 365 days. I hope you enjoy.
This year, World Mental Health Day has once again exploded on Twitter. My friends, acquaintances, and social media influencers near or far remarking on their mental health struggles. Each time I see a tweet, or a photo, or a comment about any mental illness it makes me smile knowing there are so many people of all shapes, sizes, and colors from all corners of the Earth that struggle with the same issues that I do. I admire each and every one of you for speaking out about the struggles you face on a day to day basis, 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 I 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.
I can remember when I last had a self-harm relapse. 306 days ago. I can remember thinking that I would never be clean again and that I would hurt myself forever. Because that’s what society told me.
I can remember being happy. How everyone said, “you’re smiling, you aren’t depressed.” people who have depression aren’t happy. They don’t smile. That’s what society told them.
But guess what. Depression doesn’t have a face. You can smile with friends during the day and cry yourself to sleep at night. I will say it again: Depression does not have a face. Mental illness does not have a face.
Here I am, 8 years after I wanted to kill myself for the first time. I’ll admit, I still do sometimes… yes even now. The feeling sometimes passes quicker than others, but I know it won’t make everything better.
Today I want society to piss off. Mental illnesses are normal. 1 in 4 people have them. Mental illnesses have no face, people who live with mental illnesses can function in everyday society just like those without. I want society to stop romanticizing mental illnesses. Depression isn’t cute. Anxiety is not a trend. Suicide is not a good idea, no matter what society tells you.
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 8 years ago, I needed to hear that last night.
This day exists so that can be visible. We may feel alone often, but we aren’t. If you are struggling, get help, no matter how hard it is for you. I waited 5 years and every day I wish I had gotten it sooner. Get help before it’s too late.
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.