Underdogs, this blog may contain some information that may be triggering since the topic I am going to cover is about mental health. I am going to be including my personal Facebook post about the suicide of Antony Bourdain. If this will be a trigger for you about discussing this topic, then no problem at all. I will see you on another post. By the way, you are amazing, loved, and needed in this world. Thank you for being here today, and each and every day. The world is better for you being in it! For those of you who want to continue reading, take a good look at the people in your lives and always check on them. Part of mental illness is understanding it. We know so little, and people are too ashamed to get the help that they need. It’s time to address this subject head on, and be strong enough as a society to stand up and say that this isn’t alright. That we need to stop the stigma around mental health, or we all lose. Every single one of us.
“All day I have been thinking about Antony Bourdain’s death. It has made me angry, hurt, and shocked. It ignited a response like I clearly didn’t expect and I had to talk myself down several times. Why? I didn’t know him. I was a fan of his career. He reminded me of those rare, raw people who lived hard in the 60’s and suffered for their art for the remainder of their lives. Sometimes a prisoner of this art. Is his suicide a surprise? Sadly, not really. Bright lights can’t shine forever, but when they fade on their own, it leaves such a hole for those left behind. My fury come from the basic fact that even in 2018, mental illness still is shunned and laughed at. It’s misunderstood. While people can point the finger and say he could have done so and so, and he would still be here, or the fact that he had loved ones should have been enough. I hate to tell you, but mental illness does not work that way. Some days, the illness wins, and it will cost you your life. What hurts the most is reading comment after comment saying that Anthony had enough money to get help, and if he didn’t get it, then how in the world can someone dirt poor like me get it? First, illness should never be about money, but it is in the United States. It’s heartbreaking that people can’t get the help they need due to dollar signs. If you need help, go to an ER. They have to treat you! Then ask for low cost or free program. Just because you are poor does not mean that you can’t or don’t deserve help. We don’t know each other’s demons, so let’s not stand in a place of judgment and instead reach out a helping hand. Advocate for more mental health funding and education. Teach your children about it, because you won’t find it being taught it most schools. It’s okay to be hurt, and angry over someone passing that you have never met because they made and impact. And guess what, those feeling a make you human. For those who are suffering, I’m here. For those who don’t want to admit their illness due to stigma, your health is more important than an image. A hand is always outstretched to help, look, ask, or cry out for one. There is no shame. Give yourself a chance because more people than your realize are living with mental illness. I am, and sometimes the battle is too hard. But I keep going, and so should you. The world deserves your impact, don’t rob it of your light because of fear and shame. You deserve help. You deserve life. There will be bad days , but there will be good days as well. Take a hand. Reach out.”
Mental Illness is not to be taken lightly, however it is still laughed at, mocked, or shoved aside like it isn’t real. The longer we take on this attitude, the more lives we will lose to this terrible disease. This is a global issue that people refuse to see. For far too long, we have equated emotion with depression. We have confused a bad day with an illness. We have made it seem like real symptoms and issues are not anything more than sadness and anger. To continue with this line of though is to continue undercutting a real illness. We are doing ourselves a disservice by not speaking out and getting the help that we need. Let’s get this straight once and for all. An illness is not an emotion. Let’s start treating Mental Illness for what it really is, an illness! Nothing less than that.
Sadly, there isn’t enough money to get all the people the help that the need. Going to therapy is not cheap and many people can’t afford to do this. While going to an ER is an option, the rules vary from state to state. But every ER will have to treat you if you are in medical danger. There are programs out there for you to try out. Start with The United Way and then ask people in your community. If you have health insurance, call the number on the back of the card to help you get started in the right direction to get any help that you may need. Some work, schools, and churches have programs within them, or resources that you don’t even know about. While it may take some work, there is help out there for you.
I don’t want you to feel alone. I suffer from anxiety and depression, as well as other disorders. There are days I can’t get out of bed. There are days that I feel so down that I can’t function. There are days where I am so overwhelmed that I can’t feel a thing. I have voices in my head telling me how horrible that I am, and how no one loves me. Part of mental health is knowing when those voices are just noise, and when you need to seek help. I have been in both positions where it’s just been some terrible noises, and when I needed help because I was fearful for my life.
I have had different kinds of help for the last 10 years of my life. I can tell you that it is a lot better than not having any help at all. Even when I think nothing is helping, I still am here and still make it through another day. It may seem like a terrible thing to only accomplish getting out of bed, but it is an accomplishment. On those days where I can’t, it doesn’t mean that I failed, was lazy, or a bad person. All it means is that the illness was a bit much for me that day. The thing is, symptoms of mental illness are as real as other health issues. They can be small, or they can be life threatening. We need to take it seriously.
This is a long battle that will not be won in a simple blog. However, it starts with you. I hope that each of you will read this and see that mental health is a real problem. Together, we can reach out to one another, but we can also help educate the public. This is something that is very important and we need to help get over the block that is put up by so many who fear and mock the reality of this illness. It’s hard enough being sick, but it’s even harder to feel like you have to justify it to everyone including yourself. In the meantime, you are all loved and needed. I am thankful for all of you and hope that you will take the time to do your own research on the topic, and reach out to the sources above if you need it. Thank you!