Why am I passionate about neurodiversity?
For years, I brought myself unnecessary trauma by ignoring that I was, in fact, disabled. I suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, OCD, and Bipolar Depression since I was very young. Instead of kindness and sympathy, my symptoms were met with shame, from my family and my peers, 10-year-old me battled with comments like, “Nothing in your life is that bad! Snap out of it!” or, “You’re such a waterworks,” even, “There goes Ms. Perfect, worrying about everything.” My neurodivergence was a burden, a downer, a destruction from the things that needed to get done. Popularity eluded me, and I blamed my inability to relate to other kids, my weight, anything besides my emotional health because I didn’t realize my brain was different.
The term mental illness can be daunting. It can be scary and bring an uneasy feeling. Discussing mental illness in public is frowned upon by some. But why? What made society believe that talking about mental illness is bad? Why are we afraid to discuss the seriousness of mental illness? Why are some people afraid of people with mental disorders? Is it their “unpredictability?” Or is it our inability to fully understand their illness?
Growing up isn’t always easy. Learning about life & fighting the everyday struggles. Approaching someone new, you hear their words & you question their intent. Overtime you grow to find interest, but they start to ask for favors. You worry their intentions are more self reliant.
I’m angry. I feel deserted by society, and I’m angry. People keep claiming they don’t understand mental illness until a designated day of the year, or until some pretty celebrity writes something on Instagram. So here, I plan to make you understand it, once and for all:
The other day, I found myself discussing with a friend a Bollywood actor's suicide, which was allegedly triggered by his long term depression. She was heartbroken, as was I. Sushant Singh Rajput was a beloved inspiration to the masses and his death caused a huge mental health de-stigmatization movement which had everybody 'pretending' to be comfortable with mental ill-health and conversations revolving around the same.
It has been almost a year and a half since I started advocating for mental health and trying my best to fight the stigma surrounding it.
May is mental health awareness month and I, your obnoxiously woke friend, haven’t said anything about it. I’ve felt very self conscious about it, not because I have an “it” to talk about, but because I suddenly feel very inadequate. Who did I think I was to try to articulate any of the complexities of living with a mental illness? Why did I want to start talking about this in public and set myself any expectation to live up to? All I am now is a diagnosis, and, depending on who you are, that’s maybe not a good thing.
This morning I have been in a weird mood. I am not happy, but I am not sad. I am more in thought. I am, of course, thankful that at least I awakened to see another day, right? My kids are healthy and here, and my life seems to be okay if I was an outsider looking in. Many do not know that is what depression looks like. I go to therapy, take medication to control these vibes, But none of that works for more it seems. I want to be transparent at a point in my life, and I do not want to make the outside look good as much as I want the inside to feel good. That is the most essential part.
Are mental health issues really on the rise? Some would argue that, statistically, yes they are, on the basis that Gen-Z Snowflakes are too easily upset and too ready to ‘identify’ with whatever personality or issue they choose. They lack the definitive British resilience, the Stiff Upper Lip, the Keep Calm and Carry On mentality.