Let’s Talk January 25, 2017Posted by thejinx in life, Uncategorized.
Tags: anxiety, bell, depression, let's talk, mental illness, stigma
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I suffer from anxiety.
That’s one of the first times I’ve said that out loud.
Why is that? I don’t think I will be ostracized or maligned for admitting it. I don’t think I’ll be treated like I’m diseased or insane. I won’t be locked up or force-fed medication that will erase my personality.
The people I know won’t tell me to suck it up, or that I’m faking it, or that I’m just trying to get attention. They won’t tell me to just get over it, or try to convince me that other people have it worse and I have no reason to complain. They won’t belittle me or try to cut me out of their lives.
I won’t be made to feel that I somehow failed as a person. I won’t be made to feel like getting over it is as easy as just thinking positive thoughts. I won’t be made to feel like this struggle is trivial or invalid. I won’t be made to feel like I’m not allowed to show it, or that showing it means I’m weak.
So why has just admitting it been so hard if I don’t have any of these struggles?
Because these things have happened, and that’s where the stigma of mental illness comes from. Even though I’ve never experienced such reactions, years—decades—of such responses have created an unconscious reflex to keep it to myself. People who cannot and will not understand what it’s like to live with mental illness have dictated how people who do will look at it, even to themselves.
So let’s put the dialogue in the command of people who actually suffer from it.
My name is Catherine Fitzsimmons and I suffer from anxiety. I can’t control it, it impacts my daily life, and I am not ashamed of it.