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.
As a Licensed Practical Nurse who has worked for over twenty years in psychiatric hospitals, there is one part of my life I have hid from my past employers and my patients: that I also struggle with mental illness and have been hospitalized. There is a word that explains why I haven’t shared what I call my “dark night of soul.” The word is stigma and it means a mark or label imposed by others that leads to devaluation and discrimination. Sociologist Erving Goffman in his ground breaking study in 1963 explained the origin of the word.
The Secret Life of the Manic depressive are Stephen Fry's words, coined in his two part documentary detailing his breakdown, his secret shame, and the stories of countless others that go through the debilitating effects of untreated trauma coping mechanisms.
Ever since Green Day announced their Hella Mega Tour with Fall Out Boy and Wheezer and the long-awaited return of My Chemical Romance finally came to fruition, I've seen the words Emo Revival be tossed around. Now, I've got tickets to be seeing both of these concerts in June this year in London and my eyeliner has never been darker and my serotonin never higher.
Please allow me to be open and honest. I am an African American male in my 40s, and I suffer from a mental health illness. I have depression, anxiety, and at one point in my life, I tried to commit suicide.
Have you ever wondered if you had a Mental Health Disorder?
How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?