Why I’m Blogging About Mental Health Awareness Month

From NAMI website:

During the month of May NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will launch the WhyCare? awareness campaign for Mental Health Month. The campaign emphasizes how the “power of caring” can make a life-changing impact on the more than 40 million people in the U.S. who face the day-to-day reality of having a mental health condition. The campaign is focused on increasing education, resources, and access to care.

Central to the campaign is encouraging others to learn the facts about mental illness. NAMI’s goal is to bring mental health education to all corners of our communities. With education, people can identify warning signs of mental health conditions and help someone who may be struggling.

I’m resolving to try to blog frequently this month about various aspects of mental illness and mental health. It is a topic that people often bring up to me – my willingness to talk openly about my life as a person living with mental illness. I’m uncomfortable when they put me on a pedestal about it, but I also understand how rare it is to find actual people with whom it is safe to simply *be* a person with mental illness, much less talk about it.

Equally uncomfortable and sad are the many people in my life who don’t ask for help or support, self-medicate with alcohol, and just suffer because of all of the stigma that gets in the way of making that first appointment. I get that and I feel fortunate that I sought help when I was 22 so it became part of my adult identity pretty quickly. Not that I didn’t have my struggles with internalized stigma, but I knew in my heart that therapy and medication treatment could have a major impact on my quality of life.

Suffering, stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, self-loathing – these are not experiences that you just have to suck up in this life. You can get support and find peace of mind. You deserve both.

I say this as I personally struggle with a bout of depression and anxiety that leaves me feeling worthless, abandoned, and hopeless. It is a challenge to eat 3 meals, to get up from naps, to simply read. Writing the blog post took all day and a lot of determination to push through my inner-resistance. Life is not easy right now and I am trying to stay focused on what I can accomplish rather than what I cannot. One thing that helps me push through is knowing that it will get better as it has in the past. I’m not “more” mentally ill than I was 10 or 20 years ago. If anything, I’m much closer to mental health because of all of the hard work.

I’m not actually brave or courageous for sharing my experiences via the blog and social media. I’m just struggling and find that being transparent about my struggles is usually much better than stuffing them inside.

Here are some of our previous posts on mental health. 

Mental Health Informed Housecleaning: a Q&A with Self Care Housekeeping Owner Shanon Williams

Hysterecovery and Mental Health

Four Phases of My Mental Illness Journey (So Far)

A Hard Reset to Cope with Complex Trauma

Chronic Casual Ableism at My PCP

A Tall Drink of Water To Help My Mental Health #NaBloPoMo

The First Time I Called 911

I am a mental patient. Hear me whimper?

Would You Bring a Casserole to a Mental Patient?

Empathy and Mental Health

Five Ways to Support A Friend Living With Acute Mental Illness

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Series on Mental Illness

Reverse Seasonal Depression and Spring

Sad Birthdays and Separation From My Mother

The Story of My Life: Coping With The Dark Tales That I Can’t Explain

Six Things You Can Do To Help a Friend With Depression Have a Better Day

Mental Health Awareness Month