May 8, 2020
When I was in seventh grade, my older sister spoke to me for the first time. With shaky hands, she opened up and told me how long she had been feeling alone, and among other problems, how suicidal thoughts had started to become apart of her daily routine. When she finally gained the courage to tell our parents, my mom – who had always been the more strict caregiver between the two – responded with blatant criticism. “It’s not normal,” she said. “When people see that you have a psychiatric history they’ll think you’re crazy.” I thought that was the worst thing a parent could say to their hurting child.
Then I realized how absolutely right she was.
It wasn’t until I started volunteering with my local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) organization in my county that I started to develop a concept of what it truly meant to fight the mental health stigma. It means being there for your loved ones when they are in need of a shoulder to cry on. It means understanding that anxiety is real and it’s not just something that goes away because someone tells you to “calm down”. It means knowing that depression isn’t something you can just “get over”.
I am fighting for a voice. Not my own voice. A voice for my sister, and any other people in the world just like her.
Mental Health Through Difficult Times
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