Hi. This is my third attempt at writing something regarding mental health. Either I can’t put the words down properly, or my mind tells me “someone’s going to be offended by that” or “people are going to look down on me for this”.

“Stigma: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person: the stigma of mental disorder | to be a nonreader carries a social stigma.” (Apple’s Dictionary App) 

As someone suffering from mental health (MH) issues (that sounds nicer than “social anxiety and major depressive disorder), I am directly effected by the stigma surrounding the subject. I graduated from high school ten years ago. Back then, the talks we have now weren’t happening with such openness. All the support that I remember is a poster hanging in the cafeteria that said “If you need help, phone Kids Help Phone”. I think that poster had something to do with bullying.

Mental illness wasn’t a topic of discussion throughout my school years. You did not divulge to your friends your obsessive compulsive tendencies. You did not properly acknowledge your social anxiety. If depression was a problem, you were not encouraged to discuss it like you are now. Back then, those were symptoms of something inadmissible. Sorry, School Board – it’s true. Thank God I have always had a good family to lean on who listens and truly gives a damn.

The world has changed from those times, yet we still need to change so much more. I think that people have the right idea in trying to make us all more aware of our own/each other’s MH, but are we doing it right? I think society tends to be pretty closed-minded at times. I see a lot of support for taking care of your MH, but it doesn’t always ring through when you’re met face-to-face with your own, personal issues. Have a go at experiencing social anxiety or depression, and explaining it to someone who does not. I’ve stopped trying. The acceptance that people suffer from mental illness is there, but the support often is not. Empathy goes a long way.

Just a thought.



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