Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stigma Sucks

Good evening/early morning all! I can't sleep quite yet just because I thought it was more important to post. ALSO: Follow Depressed But Blessed on Twitter:

You might have read the title of my post and wondered...stigma? What's that?

It's defined as: "a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person."

In other words, it's shaming something you might not know a lot about. Sort of like a stereotype. And for those of us with mental illness, I'm sure we can all testify to the fact that we face stigma...A LOT. And I firmly believe that if the world knew more about mental health, we'd be a lot more understanding of one another.

So I thought I'd give you some insight into some stigma I have personally faced, and some good explanations as to why they aren't true.

1) You just have to wake up in the morning and choose to be happy. 
First off, as somebody with depression, it's hard to even wake up some days. Many times throughout the school year, I would just lay in bed and cry because the thought of getting out of bed seemed like too great of a task and I just couldn't handle even the simplest things the day had placed before me. Secondly, happiness is not always a choice. It's a feeling. Perhaps positivity is more of a choice, but even then, there are many days when it is the harder one, and you just can't fight. Therefore, it's not as simple as you put it. Chemical imbalances are real and can be extremely frustrating. People with depression just see life differently. With a lot of gray filters. And you can see the difference quite clearly in the image below:

2) You're selfish/self-centered.
I think this was one of the worst things to hear. If we take a step back, aren't we all selfish? Are we not all the same selfish sinners? We think we can save ourselves, and that's where the problem is. Our salvation comes through Christ. Even in the ugly world of depression, it's not something you can fight alone. Jesus is the answer. He was the opposite of selfish...for me and the rest of the nasty sinful world. But I promise you that I have a big heart. Really, I do. I, myself, do not hold that terrible of a selfish nature in the personality sense. But my demons do. The ones that take hold of my life and make my head spin. They're the self-centered ones. But me? I'm just trying my best to take care of me first, and even then, I'm helping others along the way. Hence, Depressed But Blessed.

3) You take too much pride in your depression/Depressed But Blessed. 
Pride. Does that even make a lot of sense? I am not proud of the darkness that sits inside my head. I am not proud of my scars, rather ashamed. I am not proud of only myself for coming this far. You know why? Because this is not my battle alone. Christ has conquered death, the devil, and the world for me and for you! And that's something to take pride in. The fact that my God sent His Son and humbly died upon the cross. I can rejoice and be proud of the fact that I have eternal life waiting for me at the end of all my struggles. Only because Jesus tackled it all for me. 
As far as pride in my blog goes, you need to understand why I write. It's purpose is to help all of you. At first, yes, I did start it to help me get some of my feelings out. But now, it's my way of showing you that you are not alone, and that you have a God who is always by your side. I don't want any of you to feel like you have to run the race alone. Because I know that not all of you have faith in Christ like I do. And with such faith, I can only pray that maybe I can be a blessing unto you. I truly only want to help put an end to stigma against mental health, and the only way that comes is by spreading the word about what it really is. 

4) It can't be that bad. 
I'm sure we can all think of those Tumblr pictures of teenagers in settings with solemn looks on their faces, right? It probably has a sad (and maybe cheesy) quote to match. Here's a newsflash: depression is scarier than having some tears run down your cheeks as you sit in an empty parking lot. It's terrifying. It means having days where you can't even recognize yourself. You don't feel human; you go through the motions of living but yet you aren't truly living. You're just trying to survive. The demons in your head bully you and the constant internal battle nags away at you. Mental illness takes a huge toll on not only your mental/emotional health, but also your physical health. Sleeping, eating, learning, and many other things become challenges. So, I mean it when I say, I wouldn't wish depression or anxiety on my worst enemy.

 I am a firm believer that stigma can be reduced a ton if we just took time to do some simple research, or listen to others. That's why I am a proud supporter of Project Semicolon and Mental Health America. We just need to educate each other on these things and soon enough, we can all feel a little better about ourselves and others.

Take the "stigmafree pledge" here:

Let's make the world a little better of a place to be; 
and let's go  and be #STIGMAfree,

Marissa Mayer

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