Thursday, May 9, 2013

May is National Mental Health Month!

 May is National Mental Health Month.  I think it's so important to remove the stigma from mental health issues.  It's important to speak out regarding mental health because that's the only way TO remove the stigma surrounding it; it's the only way to make it not taboo.

I've struggled with clinical depression for the last 14 years, but I imagine that if I had spoken with a doctor sooner, my depression would have been diagnosed sooner; it's something I've struggled with for a long time.  My depression was originally diagnosed because I developed and received treatment for an eating disorder when I was 20 years old and I probably never would have gone to the doctor for just the depression BECAUSE of the stigma attached to it.

NO ONE should suffer alone.  Depression is not a choice, it is a chemical imbalance over which you have no control.  If diagnosed with a physical illness such as diabetes or cancer, you wouldn't tell someone to just get over it, or smile because that'll make them all better.  The same goes for mental illness; people don't just "get over it," they need medical treatment.  Don't make it harder for them.

The good news is there IS treatment available for mental illnesses! There IS a light at the end of a very dark, very long tunnel.

I am still on medication to treat my depression and I probably will be for the rest of my life.  Some people would say that's not necessary, but I know that I have a form of treatment-resistant depression that requires medication. Some people don't need prescription drugs to treat their depression but I do.  I'm okay with that, so there's no reason you shouldn't be okay with it.  After 14 years, I'm learning to live with depression.  I'm a mom who is treated for depression and that's a whole other bag of worms!

If you're struggling with depression, tell someone: your spouse, a trusted friend, a medical professional.  If you can't find the words to speak up, show them this post and tell them to read it.  And if you're that trusted friend or family member reading this about your loved one, do just that - love them.  Help them find MEDICAL help for their depression and love them through this period of their life.  Your love and understanding is the best thing you can give them.

There are many other types of mental illness; depression is just the one with which I have experience.  Your love is still the best thing you can give someone struggling.  Love them and help them get the professional help they so desperately need and might be having trouble finding.

And to those of you suffering in silence ~ this WILL get better, I promise.  Stay strong, my friends.