People—it’s time to get real.
Life is hard, and no one can deny that; no one would dare to try.
But having a hard time and struggling with mental health are not one in the same.One is not valid while the other is a made up, imaginary cry for attention.
It’s time to talk mental health. It’s time to talk mental health diseases and diagnoses, and it’s time to do it in a way that’s not . . . Taboo. Controversial. Fake.
I have no issue owning up to my own struggles with mental health. I’ve talked about it on here more times than I care to count, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s me sorting out and explaining to myself that this is OK. This isn’t a thing to be ashamed of, and it’s definitely not a thing to run from. I am not the only one who struggles with and suffers from a mental health disorder. I am not the only one who’s ever had crippling anxiety and the inability to see the world without a haze similar to the after effects of a bomb explosion. I know that, and that’s what’s helped me accept that I needed help. That there wasn’t anything I could do anymore. I was out of resources. I had misused everything I possibly could as a solution, and I needed to get a real one. I needed to figure out why I couldn’t go to my best friend’s party that was for me because I couldn’t get out of bed. I was aware that this wasn’t OK. That I wasn’t OK, and I felt comfortable asking my parents for their support as I sought out the professional help of a psychologist. I have supportive parents who accept me and understand that this isn’t a flaw, this isn’t something that defines me. Not everyone is in the same situation with the same resources. Not everyone can speak so openly about their mental woes due to the fear of being too taboo; of making people feel uncomfortable and awkward. However, that’s not the direction of this piece.
This might be heavy on my mind because it’s been exactly one year since my first therapy session. The therapy session that I initiated by my own will. One that I realized needed to happen through the power of music. Twenty One Pilots got me through from the high to the lowest of low, then straight to the therapist to unravel the mess I had made in my head. If you’re not familiar with Twenty One Pilots and how they could possibly relate to mental health, here’s this:
“Fear might be the death of me, fear leads to anxiety—don’t know what’s inside me.”
Alright, now that we’re all on the same page here . . . let’s get onto the intended direction of my train of thought.
Here I am, one year after making the first step to a necessary change and road to acceptance, sitting on the floor in my bedroom with Twenty One Pilots on shuffle via Spotify. I can’t help but reflect on the past year, where I was, and where I am now. The line quoted above showcasing Tyler Joseph’s struggle with his own mental health (anxiety), is now less of my journey than it was a year ago. Then, ‘The Judge’ started playing, and I wasn’t really listening fully (in part because I was thinking out what I wanted to start this series with) until I heard:
“I’m a pro at imperfections, and I’m best friends with my doubt.”
Instantaneously I realized this is the part of my journey and road to acceptance that I’m at. I’ve accepted that yes, this is my reality, this is real, and I’m ok with myself looking internally. However, I feel lesser of a person to those closest in my life. I feel either overprotected and microscopically watched, or misunderstood, therefore excessively apologetic. Why is it that I, the defender of un-taboo-ifying (there’s a word for this, but you get what I mean) mental health, feel the need to apologize to those I spend my time with for having moments of suffering out of nowhere?
Mental illnesses, disorders, diseases, whatever you choose to call them—they’re nothing to be afraid of. They’re something a large amount of the population deal with daily. So what’s with the stigma around it? Why do we, or maybe just myself, feel the need to apologize to others when an attack comes on, or panic and anxiety take over and restlessness with a side of severe sass? I don’t know, but I know that it shouldn’t, and I know that we need to talk about it more. We need to talk about it now.