Oct 24, 2015

Some thoughts on the stigma surrounding mental illness

I've spent a lot of the last year and a half being angry at death. Sounds silly when I write it here. The truth is I lost one of my dearest friends to suicide and since then have spent a lot of time reflecting on the person I should be. The last conversation we had together, she told me "I always knew what to say" and "was her source for positivity". The words still bite a little because maybe if I had said it's okay to be sad or angry, the way I feel about losing her, it would have been different.  I spent some time being angry with her, for thinking it would be better this way and a great deal longer being angry at myself for not being a good enough friend. The truth is none of that could have changed it with any sort of certainty.  Depression is a vile disease and I've watched it eat away at people I love for a majority of my life. I've watched as this country holds a stigma on mental illness that is so substantial, people are afraid to seek help in fear of being labeled. Some of the most beautiful brilliant people I've ever met have struggled with a dark cloud. It doesn't make their light any less significant and it doesn't mean they don't have big ideas for this world.  If we spend time building each there up instead of opening our mouth to criticisms, we might start to see slow growth. Tell people what you love about them. Tell people you have dark days and fears because we shouldn't need permission. Make a conscious effort to teach your children to be fair, empathetic, and that compassion is one of the best qualities they can carry out into this world. I can't change the world, but it won't stop me from trying to make it a better place. It won't stop me from uplifting people around me.

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