Yes, I have a illness. No, I am not weak

There is nothing more infuriating than someone treating you as weak. When you tell them you are suffering from a mental health illness, the attitude is very much you are fragile, weak, child like. People being to walk around you on egg shells, not sure what they can and cannot say.

Well, let me say this, for everyone out there that has ever been diagnosed with a mental health illness. Yes, it is a part of me. Yes, I will have days where I want nothing more than to curl up with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream watching TV. Yes, I will talk about it. But, do not treat me with kid gloves, for I am not a child. Do not talked to me in hushed voices, for I am not on deaths door. Do not consider me weak, for I have a strength inside me you know not.

Fighting a mental illness is not the same as fighting a cold, or mending a broken leg. It involves a lot of work, every single day. You learn skills in order to keep your mind healthy and functioning. It is hard work sometimes, yes. But, that doesn’t mean I am any different to you or others you know.

The next time someone opens up to you, do not look at them as though they should be locked away. Do not tell them to not talk, for talking often helps as part of their coping strategy. Do not treat them any differently. If they opened to you, its because they trusted you. So respect that, and be grateful. Opening up is never easy, so consider yourself privileged that the person can confide in you.

And, to those of you suffering, do not suffer in silence. Do not let those who treat you differently put you off speaking up and speaking out. For every person who does that, I promise you, there are 10 times as many who will treat you exactly the same way as before you spoke to them. And they will do so for one very simple reason. They are your friends and your family. They are the people who will love you no matter what you tell them. They will be there in your darkest moment, and there to celebrate your best.

No matter what, do not let the small minority force you into hiding. Shout from the roof tops. I have a mental illness. But it does not define me!

Stay Strong. Stay You

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