End the Stigma

I’ve sat down to write this post countless times. I have deleted so many attempts out of my drafts folder. But it is time I talk about mental health. From Instagram it is easy to make my life look like it’s all cute outfits and rosé but that if far from the truth. Since I was a young teen I have struggled with mental illness specifically with depression and anxiety. To this day I still struggle. I have been very very lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who always supported me and made sure I got the help that I needed.

That being said there were and are still some very very dark times. I would love to say that once you get treatment everything goes away but mental illness isn’t a cut or a bump, it doesn’t just heal and go away. It is chronic and can often last for years, and it has nothing to do with how much your family loves you, or how successful you are in your career.  Nearly 45,000 people committed suicide in the US last year. But there are thousands of chronic illnesses out there that people live with, talk about, and do not feel they need to take their own lives. I feel fortunate to have grown up in a generation willing to talk about mental illness but there is still a stigma out there that keep many people from seeking help. I have been scared to talk about my struggle with mental illness publicly because I was worried people at work or potential employers would treat me differently. I have been worried about being judged and mocked. But none of those feelings compare to the grief family and loved ones feel when someone they care about takes their own life. I have been in therapy, I have taken anti-depressives and anti-anxiety medication, I have tried yoga and meditation, I have suffered and cried and wanted to die. Some things have worked better than others, some worked for a little while and then stopped working. Early this year I remember crying to Mike after an anxiety attack, I told him “I just want to be normal.” With love and empathy he told me “it’s a chemical imbalance in you brain, I can’t count the number of people I know who have struggled with mental illness at one time or another. It is extremely common, so therefore you are normal.”

Mental illness is extremely common, society needs to stop treating it differently than any other illness. If you have ever felt alone because of your mental illness you are not. I am here. Thousands and thousands of other people have shared your struggle. Depression can make you feel all alone in the world and like there is no future for you. I have had those feelings, but things do get better. Treatment does work. There are people out there that love and care about you, and there are people out there waiting to help you.

I’m Katie, I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a girl boss, a political junkie, a wine lover, and I struggle with mental illness.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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