Today is World Mental Health Day.
This is a day near and dear to my heart. I have struggled with my own mental health most of my life. I was formally diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety in my late 20s. I’ve been on medication ever since. I have tried to quit medication, under medical supervision, twice. Both times my symptoms worsened exponentially within weeks, so neither I nor my doctor see any need to try that again. I’m just one of the lucky ones who need to stay on it. I’ve also been through two stints of therapy. Both were crucial for my health at those times.
While it’s true that the understanding of mental illness by the general public has improved quite a bit in the last 20 years there can still be a stigma surrounding it. There are still folks who don’t understand why I can’t “just snap out of it” when I’m having a bad day. There are still folks who look down on me for needing medication “just because I’m sad”. And it’s even worse for people who have diseases like schizophrenia or other conditions that are harder to hide.
If you are lucky enough to not have any of these conditions yourself chances are someone you know, maybe even someone you love, does. So today, take the time to educate yourself a little bit on this misunderstood area of medicine. And be kind- you never know what struggles the person you meet next is going through inside their own heads.