May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s break the stigma!

One of our members shares her story and feelings on this important topic:

One of the most important issues that our current society needs to deal with is the stigma surrounding mental health. For far too long, people have been shamed or thought of as less than because they may not experience this existence in the same way as what is deemed normal. As someone who was diagnosed at a young age with a mental health condition, it was a constant struggle to find the proper medical and therapeutic care to fit my personal brain chemistry. It sometimes seemed like I was a test subject when it came to figuring out what medications worked without making me a complete zombie, or finding which therapist or psychologist was going to treat the cause and not just numb the symptoms. I didn’t find the proper balance of meds and therapy until I was in my late 30’s. While treatments within the mental health community have improved immensely since my diagnosis, more work still needs to be done. But this isn’t something that most people are comfortable talking about. How can we fix something that no one wants to acknowledge? Visibility matters. If I had heard stories when I was younger of other people who had my mental condition thriving, I feel like my journey may have been much easier and healthier. Taking away that shame factor is so important. Educating people on how their brain works is so important. Understanding emotions and what is creating those feelings is so important. In my opinion, this is no different than treating any other medical condition. We are only endangering ourselves and others when we don’t treat mental health conditions in the same way as any other health issue. So I hope more people start to speak up about their own personal experiences. I hope people start to feel more comfortable about reaching out when they need help. Let’s start having those hard conversations and breaking that stigma so everyone has a better chance at healing.