So, this week is Mental Health Awareness week, and if you didn’t know already- I’m a huge proponent about talking about Mental Health and especially the stigma surrounding suffering from mental health “issues” or “disorders”. I have difficulty calling people’s personal struggles with mental health an issue or a disorder, because that stigmatizes something that so many people struggle with daily. I don’t know the right word to use, but here, I’ll just be talking about mental health in general.
For those that don’t know- I’m a big proponent of the empowerment of the self in terms of mental health because I’ve struggled to come to terms with my own mental health throughout my life. I’ve never felt like my brain was functioning at top speed or like it’s ever been efficient. I tend to get bogged down by worries, and anxieties, most of the time, that are completely unfounded. It’s incredibly distracting on a day to day basis and it’s overwhelming and frustrating to deal with over time.
Struggling alone is one of the worst parts or worst things about mental health. You already feel so alone just by having these thoughts, and to be stigmatized and pushed out to the periphery makes it so much worse. For me, I’ve found that talking about my mental health struggles has made it easier for me to deal with it on a day to day basis. The louder we speak about our struggles; the more people can band together. Especially in times like this, where our politicians are quick to throw the label of “mentally ill” on anything out of the ordinary (like a white male shooter… shocking- white men can’t be terrorists!!!), it can make you feel like you aren’t “normal” if you feel anything other than happy on a day to day basis.
Talking to your friends and pushing through the discomfort can be incredibly helpful to feel less alone, and to feel more “normal” (if that’s something that means a lot to you). I’ve found even that talking to my chapter as a group has helped my mental health (even though talking to 100+ at a time about deeply personal struggles is the scariest thing I’ve ever done), because it’s a bigger support system and safety net. Now, I’m lucky to have friends and family that are open and willing to talk about these hard issues, but not everyone is so lucky. There is often the added pressure of finding someone you are comfortable confiding in, and that can add even more stress to your current state of mind. If you are a college student, seek out the counseling center, or in network providers. Starting with an unbiased and objective third party can help to break down some barriers and start an important conversation with yourself, that you can then work on with others.
If any of you ever have a struggle and feel alone, this is a community to support each other.