Stopping the Stigma Around Mental Health

I have been going to therapy on and off since I was 16 years old.

I have been going to a gynecologist since I was 16 years old.

What’s the difference? 

One’s related to my mind, i.e., my brain, the other is related to my reproductive system. If the second doesn’t work, I can always adopt (or can I?).  If the first doesn’t work?  I’m fucked.

Most people don’t admit out loud that if they’re taking an hour off work that they’re going to see a shrink. Years ago I decided that I was not going to be one of those people who kept it quiet.  If my brain needs attending to, so be it. Why should I allow society to make me feel like a freak?

Our society has always laughed off therapy in some way or another. Whether it be pushing it off as self-indulgent (because of course, making sure we are emotionally healthy is just soooo optional for our quality of life…even though we will run to the doctor at the first sniffle, begging for antibiotics, because we can’t take a few days of our body suffering), or telling us that we should resolve it in the form of a pill (because of course, a pill you can see and therefore attribute your healing to, rather than therapy which actually forces you to look at the root of your problems), or better yet, diminishing mental health by telling us to just “cheer up” / “go for a run” / “get a different job” / etc., admitting that we do not always have the tools to deal with the cards that were given to us early on, or the pain that has recently occurred in our lives, is just not acceptable.  

If we talk about it, we risk rejection.  If we talk about it, we have to actually do the work, and be willing to confront our demons, from memories to habits to addictions to weaknesses.  If we talk about it, we have to be honest.

Below, I’m sharing Ruby Wax‘s TED Talk, “What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?”, an eight minute video that gets to the point quickly.  So, dammit, let’s end the stigma. Share our struggles. Remember that our brain controls everything in our life, so it needs our utmost care. Demand that it be treated the same as any other part of our body when it comes to healthcare. And never EVER be embarrassed about fighting for the part of us that makes us who we are.


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