It’s Mental Health Awareness Month!!

According to Wikipedia, May has been considered Mental
Health Awareness Month since 1949. This seems shocking to me, seeing as lobotomies
were still considered an effective form of treatment until the 1970s!! How could we have been so #woke if we were still mixing around people’s brains with ice picks? Okay
yes, they weren’t common practice after the 1950s, but you catch my drift (side bar: Howard
Dully wrote a crazy book about the lobotomy he underwent at age 12 in 1960…
check it ouuuuuut).

Although this is the 68th Mental Health Awareness
Month to date, I think it’s extremely important to remember how drastically
things have changed since then.

This month is a time to applaud our progress, both as a
nation, but within ourselves as well, and to plan our future growth.

Mental health in 2017 is tricky, right? On the one hand, just because
you’re diagnosed with a mental illness shouldn’t mean you’re any different… but on the
other hand, it actually should, right? In 2017, we’re always trying to remind others that what they’re struggling with may look invisible,
but it’s just as present and debilitating as any physical illness. But if that’s the case, how do you
ask people to see you as an equal while also asking them to respect what you’re
struggling with at the same time? 2017 is #woke but #confusing.

But that’s the great thing about this month. It’s the
perfect reminder of the overarching theme: the 1 in 5. 1 in 5 of us are having those same circles of
thoughts. 1 in 5 of us are going through this together. To me, Mental Health
Awareness Month means visibility. 1 in 5 of us shouldn’t feel ashamed,
or lesser, or damaged.

I have learned so much over the years while dealing with my
own struggles. I could write thousands upon thousands of words attempting to
explain the ups and the downs I’ve experienced, but the best way I could
possibly summarize it all is that this is all just a part of me. I have
absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. My diagnoses don’t define me. They don’t
make me lesser. They don’t make me worthy of pity nor do they make me worthy of
favoritism. As cliché and corny as it is, they just make me, me.

The best part of how far we have come with regards to mental health is that I can say all of that and genuinely mean it. I don’t have to be
ashamed of the medication I take, or the bad days I still have. I can work a
great job, surrounded by great people, in the city I love. I can thrive on my
good days, yet I can still be understood and respected on my bad days. I can
joke with my friends about my suicidal thoughts and my lowest of lows, yet I
can have a support system to turn to the second I need it, no questions asked.

That is what this is all about. That is what I wish everyone
understood. The bad days don’t define you and the good days don’t mean you’re cured.
You are just you, illness and all.  

Some days I wear my anxiety like a shield. Sometimes I loath
my depression more than I can put into words. Not every day is easy. I don’t always
feel proud or confident or willing to accept who I am. I am, however, so lucky
to have so many positive experiences though, because I know not everyone can
say the same.

My big take away from this is that it is all about
acceptance. Acceptance of yourself, of those around you, and of the things you
can and cannot change.

Mental Health Awareness Month also isn’t just for those who
are struggling either. It’s for everyone. It’s about the progress, the compassion, the
empathy, and things we have yet to learn.

I’m going to take this month (I know its already May 3rd
sry) to write about different experiences I’ve had with mental health. Whether
they’re my own struggles, or those of my friends and family, they’re important
to share and I’m going to share ‘em!!! I can’t guarantee how often I’ll
actually write (LOL I HAVE COMMITMENT PROBLEMS SORRY!!) but ya know keep an eye
out ok!!!!!!!!!