Falynne Johnson
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Mental Illness

Stop the stigma.

Let's start with a few facts that you may or may not be aware of. Did you know that in Canada only 1 out of 5 children that need mental health services receives them? Or how about that youth suicide rate in Canada is the third highest in the industrialized world, and 11 suicides are committed every day. By the time we reach 40, 1 in 2 Canadians have, or have had, a mental illness. So why the stigma?

I'm going to say that if you haven't suffered from a mental illness, you probably won't understand. And that's okay, we don't need you to understand, but we also don't need your judgement. If I don't get out of bed today because the thought itself is so daunting, it doesn't mean I'm lazy. If I haven't had a shower in a few days, it's not because I enjoy sitting in my own filth, it's because I just can't. I don't have the motivation, and I'm exhausted. And no, I can't just snap out of it. 

If I write another article I will tell you my backstory, but at the moment it isn't necessary. My doctor told me I have depression with suicidal tendencies. Not that I didn't already realize that, but at least now it's official and we can start making steps towards recovery. The only reason I actually went for help was because I was scaring my mom and she set up the appointments and took me, otherwise I wouldn't have gone. I think that's a huge problem, the fact that we don't know how to ask for help, or that we're afraid of what people might think; it's a large part of why so many people are suffering in silence.

Fast-forward a week or so and I'm on anti-depressants. They help... they do. I no longer think about committing suicide... but of course there are side effects. I probably haven't found the right drug for me yet, and that is an exhausting process in and of itself. Trying multiple different anti-depressants that mess with you for a bit and then even out and then you realize it's not working so you try another one and it messes with you for a bit then evens out and you think your okay and hey! This one might be working! But no, there's another crappy side effect. It's a frustrating process. 

The hardest part for me was dating someone who was opposed to anti-depressants because he didn't understand how they worked. He never looked into any research about what the drug actually does, and ended up just making assumptions about it. I tried to explain it to him, but he was very stubborn. Like I said though, understanding isn't the biggest issue, it's having support. You need to surround yourself with people who help lift you up, not drag you down. The people closest to you should be able to accept that what you have is a mental illness and accept that sometimes a drug can help alleviate symptoms. 

I don't need anyone to feel sorry for me. I don't need anyone to judge me. This is my battle, and I am a warr;or. 

What mask will I wear today?

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