A Social Stigma

I have this friend, a fellow WordPress writer and spoonie. In this blog you know her as Elsa. We went to school together. She is, to put it lightly in southern terms, a hoot and a half.

Yesterday while we were having a much needed girls day, she brought up an interesting topic. It’s not uncommon for sooonies to suffer from mental health issues. I myself struggle with anxiety and mild depression. Elsa has been struggling with hers for a lot longer than me and boy is she a BAMF.  But it took her a long time to open up to me about her mental illness. She’s not really afraid to talk about it. But sometimes, talking about it can trigger symptoms. Sometimes sharing her struggles doesn’t relieve tension, it can cause it. And that’s okay. For me I’m the opposite, talking and writing about it helps a lot. Elsa writes poetry; beautiful words weaved together in structured stanzas that represent her feelings and experiences. This is how she copes. It’s hard to write sometimes, but poetry is her way of telling the world about herself.

While we were getting Chinese food, Elsa was reading me some tweets from a feed she follows. They were discussing depression and how they deal with it. One person said that when they’re in an episode they can’t do anything because it’s too difficult. This prompted an argument between the tweeters on the feed because the original tweeter was offended when others tried to comfort them and offer suggestions. This hit me kind of hard.

I know the struggle. I know how hard it is to get out of bed when you’re in a bad place. But putting that information out there, whether you’re asking for help or pity–is it really necessary to argue with people who only want to help? I know everyone is different. And I know that you can’t please everyone. Which is why I’m such an avid preacher of self care and love. If you don’t want to do anything to help yourself, fine–you don’t have to patronize anyone else.

Why is there such a stigma on mental illness? So many people struggle with even mild forms of mental illness. Why do we retreat within ourselves when we should be out shouting it to the world? Why are we ashamed of our struggles and illnesses? Happy healthy people are a facade. They don’t really exist. Everyone struggles, everyone. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, and please don’t be ashamed of yourself. No matter your illness, no matter what your struggles are. You are beautiful and perfect. Always.

So how do you deal with an episode? Anxious, depressive, manic? Me, I surround myself with comforting things. Music, friends, family. When I’m really low I go to my moms and spend time with my sisters. Yesterday Elsa and I comforted each other, we got our nails done. Had a quiet dinner, she wrote and I killed things on the PS4.

Today I’m struggling physically but I’ve had a stressful week at work. I hadn’t slept, I hadn’t really ate. Elsa was just depressed because she had been doing nothing but working and hadn’t spoken to anyone other than coworkers and her husband in weeks. So she reached out, knowing I was stressed and I suggested a girls day. Some days I can’t handle other people so I hibernate in my room. But I take it upon myself to never have a negative attitude. I laugh about my illness. I find it comical how I shake sometimes, and my friends tease me about all the pill bottles I carry around in my purse. I don’t let my illness get the best of me, or at least I try. And I NEVER let it keep me down or spoil my spirits.

So there you have it. My Sunday morning, flare day rant.

I’d very much like to know what you do to help yourself through hard times. Do you surround yourself with family or friends? Or just one person? Do you colour, have a TV show you watch to make you smile?

Have a wonderful Sunday my loves,

OXOXOX

Kat

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