“As a writer, you can change the world. Move the masses. Stir the soul. It’s time to use your power of words to stir your reader.
Write a letter or appeal, something that persuades your reader to join the cause, take sides with your movement, or simply try something new.
It can be political or religious in nature; it can be about dieting or exercise or you favorite food to eat. Heck, it can be about anything you want.
What it can’t be is disrespectful or libelous. Use your charm and charisma to get someone who doesn’t share your beliefs to change their mind.
Or at least, do your best to try.”
My fellow readers,
This blog post was written to plead with you to have more acceptance for those who are suffering from mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in four Americans suffers from mental illness. That’s an overwhelming 61.5 million people, and about 13.6 million of those people, on average, die twenty-five years earlier, and usually they die from conditions that are mostly treatable. However, while I am imploring you to have more acceptance, it is not the fact that those of us with mental illness are far likelier to die younger that I want you to dwell on today, though it is important to note. It is equally important to think of quality of life. Certainly, it’s easy to think about the quality of life when someone is suffering from cancer or to be aware of those who are disabled and treat them with dignity and respect. However, why is it any different when the illness someone is suffering from occurs in their mind, or because of a chemical imbalance in his or her brain?I struggle with bipolar, and I was diagnosed with bipolar officially when I was twenty-one after attempting suicide; however, I had been to see therapists, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists since I was thirteen.
I don’t expect to eradicate people on misusing the word “crazy”, nor do I think it’s realistic for everyone to go home and read up on mental illness to be knowledgeable of any of the diseases people have. However, I think it’s fair to request that people find out a little bit about these diseases if they find out someone is suffering from them so that you may perhaps be of some comfort to a person suffering.For example, I have chronicled the evils of the Dragon Lady in my free-write about work last week; however, if she had practiced empathy and understood the severe amount of stress I was under at the time, and how sometimes, believe it or not, my bipolar manifests itself in extreme chattiness or talking fast and a lot, maybe she would have understood that I wasn’t just goofing off, I was in the middle of a hypomanic episode.I feel like often times, people judge others based on external action without looking to examine the internal. I feel as though if we can better understand what is going on inside of someone, perhaps we too can be better at understanding others.
It’s important to me that people don’t judge others so harshly. I have often been judged one way when if you really get to know me, you realize there is more than what meets the eye. That being said, I think it’s vital that mental illness grows more acceptable to talk about.Even now, I worry about the stigma attached to mental illness. I wonder when I reveal to someone that I have bipolar, that their perception of me will change. All of a sudden, they will not feel as comfortable around me, or they will view me in a different lens. I have reserved from telling my boyfriend’s family about my bipolar (or PTSD for that matter) because I worry about the judgments made with such illnesses. In an ideal world, people wouldn’t judge me for my mental illness.
It’s not like I chose to have bipolar or PTSD, it’s just my brain chemistry and my brain’s way of handling the extreme stress I have been through. I tease people it’s not like I’m sitting in the corner of my room, rocking back and forth and muttering to myself. I am strong, I am functional, I am here to spread awareness, but also please understand, there are some days when getting out of bed sounds like the worst possible chore there is, and I’d much rather hide than face the storm that is my mental illness. Let’s just work together to make the world a kinder, gentler, and more understanding place!If you ever have any questions about mental illness or anything else I have posted about in my blog, feel free to shoot me an email at lucie.guerre AT gmail DOT com.
Check out the link below to learn more quick facts about mental illness if you’re interested!