Waited a while to post this on mental health awareness week. It’s finally the week for awareness.
Mental health is very, very important because of the stigma that comes with having one. You hear things like “others have it worse, don’t be selfish” “PTSD is only for war veterans” “you pull out your hair? That’s weird. Why don’t you just stop?” This isn’t something to be glamorized. Pills, therapy, and unhealthy coping mechanisms are NOT cute. Take this into consideration when you watch 13 Reasons Why(season 2) this weekend. There is a reason Netflix and the producers chose to air the new season during this week.
Also be aware of the harm that this week gives. You watch the show once and think “wow how sad, maybe I’ll tweet about it” but a tweet doesn’t show compassion and neither does the interest in benefitting off of it.
Mental illness is a spectrum. Feeling sad in the moment and having a bad day does not mean you have depression. When you get annoyed because something isn’t organized how you like is not OCD. Feeling anxious for a test does not mean you have anxiety. Just because someone didn’t serve in the war, doesn’t mean they can’t have PTSD.
Mental illness for me is seeing how long I can go without pulling out my hair. Filling in my bald patches with eyeshadow so no one notices. It’s forgetting to take my meds consistently. It’s having nightmares every single night relating to past traumas. It’s “forgetting” to eat. It is buying a CAT for therapeutic reasons.
If you do not struggle there is no way to fully understand what someone’s day to day struggle consists of. But it doesn’t take much effort to check up on a friend or show them how important they are. Advocating isn’t scary.
Today marks my 16th day without pulling out hair. I’ve had trichotillomania for half a year and the longest I’ve gone before today was 4 days. The last photo in the thread is what my hair looks like right now. Baby hairs growing back and scabs from pulling out clumps. Relying on small victories is what gets me through the day.
Talking about mental illness is scary, but doing is alone is scarier.