In order to further be part of a movement which strives to promote the existence of mental illnesses, I have to be able to speak my truth. Not just write it. Not hide behind my laptop. But say it out loud, and not say it with a smirk and a wink, and a jolly, "I'm crazy." This isn't helping anyone. I'm only further promoting the notion that mental illness needs to remain in the closet. Until people can accept that there is stigma, those of us who do suffer in silence; those of us who are too embarrassed to say out loud that we have an illness -- we need to refrain from using a vocabulary which only serves to further set back the progress.
Now that I've experienced stability in mild doses as my medication is regularly tweaked to find the right balance, I question myself often. Is my thought to return to school to get my Masters something I really want? Or is it residual hypomania egging me on? I still wake at night and watch as the thoughts battle each other for my undivided attention.
I will tell you that I know you've tried what feels like everything to create a tolerable existence, but it hasn't worked thus far. I also know that you have hoarded your past expired medications in your toy hamper waiting for this day when you finally get "the nerve" to go through with ending it all. Please don't let today be your last, I want you to experience what it's like to smile for real again and you'll be taking that opportunity away.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a film crew to follow you day in and day out, documenting your daily rituals all in an effort to create a successful film? I have a chronic condition called Dermatillomania, which has left me scarred and disfigured on the outside, alienated and "different" on the inside.
On the January 23, 2014 episode of The View and just hours after Bieber was arrested, the subject of his arrest came up. It's been alleged that Bieber was found with medication at the time of his arrest which are rumoured to be anti-depressants. Journalist, creator, and co-host of The View Barbara Walters stated that she had no idea what Bieber had to be depressed about. If Bieber has depression or some form of mental illness, then I commend him for seeking treatment. What Walters said in relation to Bieber is a widely-held misconception.
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.
Mental health is currently on the forefront of two TV shows that I'm keeping an eye on. Half of my friends believe highlighting the struggles of those with mental illness in a fictional manner only furthers the stigma. The other half believes Hollywood has the ability to use its magic to accurately depict the day-to-day life of those with mental illness.
The events in Newtown sparked a lot of discussion on gun control and the media's representation of children following violent events. However, as is the case with most well-covered human tragedies, mental health discourse was decidedly missing from the reporting. "Evil visited this community today," the Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said following the shooting. Such words are not uncommon following acts of violence, but their prominence still made me cringe. I have to ask, whose "evil" are we talking about when we classify this tragedy as such?
With the recent, tragic, and unnecessary death of bullying victim Amanda Todd, I believe that it is time to talk about suicide openly. Having the nation begin to talk about bullying and suicide prevention should have happened a long time ago. I am sad that it has taken an end to a life to begin talking about suicide so openly but it is something we must talk about to prevent it.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 marks the 4th Annual Hats On For Awareness gala! The event started in 2008 by my good friend Enza Cecchia and her partner in this crusade, Benny Caringi. Like all previous events, this is a night to bring attention to those suffering in the shadows of mental illness and addiction. I was lucky enough to interview Enza & Benny who shared some pretty jaw-dropping facts about mental illness.
In my last post I talked about words we use everyday and the context in which we use them that could come across as offensive to those with mental illness. However, as an advocate I could do more to make the public aware of the positive things they can say or do to support those mental health difficulties.