raising a mommy

raising a mommy

Sunday, September 4, 2016

let's get rid of the stigma

Betty has cancer. There is no reason she should have cancer. She eats well. She exercises regularly. She lives in a safe environment and is surrounded by people who love and support her. Betty is a good person.

Betty knows she has cancer. She fights it every day of her life. Some days are easier than others. She feels okay, so she gets dressed, puts on some jewelry and a little make up, and goes out. She feels like a normal person for a little while and the world can't tell that she has cancer.

Other days are harder and she can't get out of bed. Sometimes these spells go on for days or weeks at a time and Betty has trouble remembering that there is life outside of her cancer.

Betty doesn't like to talk about her cancer. She doesn't want pity and she doesn't want people to treat her differently because of it. She's so much more than her cancer, and that's how she wants people to think about her. Yes, it is part of her, but it's not everything.

Even though she doesn't want it be the only facet of her that people see, Betty knows that she needs to talk about cancer. The more awareness there is, the more support there is, and the more people will know how to react to and support those who are fighting.

Now go back through those last five paragraphs and reread them. Only this time, replace the word "cancer" with the word "depression". If your attitude toward Betty changes, something needs to be different. The negative stigma around depression and anxiety and other mental health issues is literally costing people their lives, and it's up to us to work together to change it.

Maybe that girl who posts melancholy facebook statues every day is just being dramatic. Or maybe she's contemplating the best way to end her life because she actually truly believes the world would be better off without her. She is someone's daughter and sister and best friend.

Or maybe the fake smiles have the world fooled and nobody outside her most intimate circle even know because she doesn't want to talk about it because she's scared of the judgement of strangers or those who are supposed to be her friends.

1 comment:

  1. Very very well said! We struggle daily with not having enough resources to help those who need it. Breaking the stigma around mental health issues would help expand the support systems available for all who suffer. Every one knows someone who is struggling with mental illness, but so few are aware of who they are.