World Mental Health Day
October 10th, the day of advocacy, awareness, and education. The day of fighting the stigma.
Today is World Mental Health Day. What does that mean? Today is the only day to come out about mental health disorders and not get judged for it.
Today I posted on my social media about my anxiety disorder for the first time, allowing the friends and family who have no idea of my mental health conditions finally know about who I really am. I don’t understand why I didn’t do this sooner, because mental health issues should be normalized. It’s normal to not be perfectly stable.
In my previous blogs, I have come to terms with anxiety being another part of me. It is within me, it affects me, it motivates me, it fights me, it is me. It is a bodily function along with all my other systems, like respiratory and circulatory. Instead of working to help me survive, anxiety makes you work harder. It fights you, and goes against your instincts. It makes you overthink and not be trustful. It’s like you’re working to battle this disorder with every breath you take.
Anxiety isn’t all bad, though. Of course some days are worse than others. But on the good days, my anxiety pushes me to not procrastinate. Which I’m thankful for, being a college student. It pushes me to reread and try to fully understand things instead of breezing right through. I'm also thankful for that. But the bad days hit and the attacks happen. Like I said before, a constant battle.
The stigma I mentioned in the subtitle is something we as a society invented. Social stigmas are the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society. Social stigmas are commonly related to culture, gender, race, and health.
I have personally experienced the social stigma against mental health. I have been told that anxiety is not real. I have been called an attention seeker for being emotionally unstable, stressing out for irrelevant reasons. A worry wart for emphasizing the simplest things. All perceptions developed inside of someone’s mind against someone different from them. And not only that, but someone that they don’t understand.
That’s a struggle for me, even as a 20 year old, to be understood. My only wish on this day is for the world to be educated on mental health and how it is just as important as physical health. I wish that people can listen to me saying “I’m not okay” or “This doesn’t feel right” and not judge the circumstances. A simple response of “This may not be okay or you may not be okay, but that is okay.” Meaning it’s okay to not be okay. It’s having a non biased support system who will listen and respond even if they don’t relate to me or my worries.
The take away I would like my readers to gather from my blogs is that mental health is important and should be treated as significant as anything else. Your mentality affects everything in your body. It not only affects you but everyone around you.
Example. I have a wonderful mother who picked up the phone at 3 am when I couldn’t breathe. I was too stressed out to think, but I made that call. My mental health and my anxiety attacks affect those I love. It affected my mother’s sleep.
But anxiety isn’t the only mental health disorder out there. Many people are affected by a variety of disorders all around the globe. There is clinical depression, ADHD, dementia, bipolar disorder, OCD, and PTSD, just to name a few. These illnesses affect people across all age, sex, and racial boundaries. Some are in more critical stages than others, but all mental health issues matter. All people who suffer from them matter.
I leave you with this— educate yourselves. Look at statistics. Talk to people with mental health disorders. End the stigma.