NAMI Metro Suburban Blog

3 minutes reading time (617 words)

Being Part of the Change

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 Being diagnosed with any mental illness is, at some point, hard to digest. I was first diagnosed in November of 2009. What may seem odd or strange is that all I felt was feeling of relief. I finally knew what was wrong with me and it was not just because I was some crazy person. I had an illness, a sickness that could get better. On the other hand, it was not long before the thoughts of: "Why me?" and "Why do I have this?" began to creep in.

At first, those thoughts consumed me but, only because I let them. One day I started to write and keep record of what my rollercoaster ride was putting me through. I started talking about my three diagnoses: PTSD, General Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and a few years later I was diagnosed with OCD and when diagnosed with it I started keeping records there as well. Through all my downfalls and even my triumphs I tried to keep writing, keeping a tab on myself. My biggest thought and most dangerous thought was I am all alone. Come to find out, that certainly was untrue. I was far from being alone. I only discovered this because I became part of the world's change by being myself, expanding my talents, and reaching out to others who could empathize.

Ultimately, I wanted stigma to change. There were too many people out there who judged me for what was put on paper as my diagnosis versus the person I was. I wanted to become a part of the change. I wanted to not be alone. I wanted to see other people's knowledge about mental health to grow. I wanted to be an active member in changing stigma. So, I did. If not me, who? Not everyone can sit back and accept change if no one does anything! I chose to become part of the change that I wanted to see in the world.

I began by keeping a diary for myself. I also kept a big journal to log my feelings, thoughts, and emotions. I also started a Facebook group that grew to over 10,000 people. Most importantly, I researched my disorders.I dug deeper into finding out why I do what I do. I wanted to know why I was different than others. I would then write, write, write. Most of which I keep to myself in my diary and journal but, it reminds me to write publicly to stop the stigma. I have realized by putting myself out there I will run smack dab into people who don't understand, think I'm crazy, or just an attention seeker. Maybe sometimes that is true! I know deep down though, it is my disorders talking. It is my illness winning.

My mental health is like having asthma or diabetes. With the right therapy and/or medications I'm okay! Mental health takes time to diagnose, come to terms with, and the accurate treatment can take a while to figure out but, it's worth it. What's even more worth it? Knowing I helped others, knowing I was part of the change I wanted to see, even if it reduced the stigma of just one single person. In recalling my hardships and battles I fought, if it helped someone get through a tough spot or changed one's stigma about mental health. It was worth it. Imagine if everyone became part of the change they believed in? It would feel amazing and stigma would be reduced at the least. The outcome would most certainly outweigh the trials.I strongly urge everyone to become a part of the change in reducing stigma surrounding mental health.

Written by Lauren Meredith

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Saturday, 24 August 2019