October 1 through October 7 was Mental Illness Awareness Week. I believe mental health should not have to have a specific day or week dedicated to it, but in today’s world, it is imperative to have this week. Unfortunately so many people are uneducated when it comes to mental health. Because of this I am thankful there is a week that demands awareness.
I have been diagnosed with two disorders. My first one is more common to the public, Bipolar Disorder. My second is Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder is not commonly known and if people are aware of the disorder, they more than likely have a horrible bias about it.
“My illness is real even if you cannot see it in an X-ray.” – Madeline Head
I try to teach people about this disorder specifically because it seems to affect not just my mood, but literally every aspect of my life. This disorder is so ingrained in me it seems at times like it is me. That is not true, and that is why I am in extensive therapy, called Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
My doctors refuse to put it on my medical forms because it is considered the “kiss of death” in the world of mental health. A significant amount of therapists and psychiatrist refuse to work with me because I have been diagnosed. The people who have been diagnosed are viewed as hostile, unmotivated and violent. There are even some psychiatrist and therapists that have zero training in Borderline Personality Disorder.
I hope one day the world of mental health professionals will be able to accept me and get to know me before placing judgment. I believe I deserve help just as much as the next person when it comes to my mental health.
An important part of ensuring help for all is making sure the tools, resources and programs are available to those who need it. It is imperative that we support programs that educate and encourage our overall well-being. Empowered and Poised, a program based out of Cleveland, provides mental, emotional, and physical support/services to young girls. They do this through discovery of social, mental, and physical components that work together to empower and enlighten young girls to be beautiful from the inside out. Their motto is, “Be You. Be Strong. Be Empowered & Poised”.
I wonder if I had the opportunity to be part of a like this program when I was younger, if I would have had such a difficult time accepting myself. Would I have struggled as much as I did?
Programs like these save lives and bring out the best in us by teaching us to love and respect ourselves. I support this program and ones like it because it teaches all young girls and women to be strong individuals through all means, physical health, emotional health, and social health.
Mental Illness Awareness Week is great for driving awareness, but for the many individuals like myself who live with mental health disorders, it is an everyday battle. For the other days and weeks of the year I ask this of you:
If you do not believe in mental health, I am sorry. It is not something to believe in because it is true, and it is concrete. My illness may not appear in a blood test like diabetes or in an X-ray like a broken bone, but it is real. I am not crazy because I have these disorders. I am not dangerous. I am not looking for attention. I am not broken. I am not able to just snap out of it.
I am me. I am wonderful, kind, and loving. I give and give to people because I love them. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am funny. I am lovely. I hope the world can one day accept what they may not be able to see. I hope one day I can be accepted, appreciated, and loved for me.
Fly on little butterflies.