“Why talk about mental health?” is a question I’ve been faced with on numerous occasions. Recently, I was accused of basing my life around this subject and the accuser said it as if my openness about my mental health was a negative thing. I disagree that I base my life around this topic, however, I will not deny a large amount of my life is consumed by it. But why?
The main reason for my interest in mental health is that it plays a role in literally every factor of a person’s life. For example, if a person feels crappy emotionally, their physical well-being will likely suffer as well. Is this not important to look into? Healthy brain directly correlates to a healthy body, the vessel we reside within. If we don’t talk about our mental and emotional health, how will we ensure we aren’t neglecting ourselves?
Another reason I remain open about my challenges is, contrary to differing beliefs, not to solicit sympathy from people but to help others feeling like myself feel less alone in their battles. Depression, anxiety, and other mental hurdles can feel exhaustively isolating. We remain afraid to open our mouths thanks to our stigmatized societal views on, guess what? Mental health! So maybe this exact reason is why it’s crucial we discuss openly how our mental health affects us. If people hear more frequently about how they’re not alone or people hear more about various illnesses, perhaps we will all learn to be a touch more empathetic toward people as opposed to judgmental. Perhaps people won’t be afraid to voice that “hey, I’m feeling depressed today,” or “I’m struggling with my anxiety,” instead of letting other people’s voices drown our the sound of their own.
I speak up about my depression, my ocd, and my panic, not because I feel like some brave person who thrives on the energy of pity, but because I previously lived in an isolated silence. I never want to endure the loneliness of silencing my own voice ever again, and I want other people to realize that yes, their voice does matter. There is no shame in being mentally, nor physically, ill. I remain a voice for those of us who feel voiceless because I dream of a world where mental health is a priority, not something to be left on a back-burner so smolder into nothingness.