Consider this. No one makes a decision to suddenly develop psychotic delusions or the mania of bipolar disorder or the crushing darkness of depression. These are illnesses that just happen as do other illnesses like MS or Parkinson's or rheumatoid arthritis. They are not our choice and they are not welcome but they happen and we have to contend with them as best we can.
Talking about mental illness is difficult. I get it. But what is even more difficult is people saying they accept me for who I am and then deserting me. As soon they hear something good has happened to me they're the first people to want to celebrate with me, yet they don't want to hear about the dark side of mental illness.
Earlier this year Bell Let's Talk Day raised an incredible 4.8 million dollars for mental health initiatives across Canada. This is a great campaign, and I love how people in the spotlight come forward to discuss their personal mental health journeys with the public. I think it's great celebrities and stars talk about mental health issues they struggle with, but I don't think it's great how much attention is given to just the celebrity and not the mental illness itself. So why do we not treat these people, or ourselves, like heroes? We are the ones who have to deal with the mental health system, the waiting time, the unknowns, the ups and downs.
Those without mental health issues equate their feelings of sadness to those of someone with depression, when in reality this is like comparing a small paper cut to a broken arm. This characterization is entirely misguided however, as mental health issues are not a "First World Problem" but instead a problem which has the potential to affect all humans regardless of class, race, gender, or ethnicity.