I’ve never been afraid to talk about my mental health
I was basically pre-destined to have anxiety. It runs in my family; it’s in my genetics. Anxiety. Crushing, suffocating anxiety. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I remember.
Unlike most, I’ve never really had a problem talking about my mental health issues. Because they are such a crucial component of my everyday life, I’ve never struggled to hide that part of who I am.
I’m a verbal processor. In other words, I talk a lot. Whenever I’m facing a problem, I turn to my family and friends to talk through it with me. My anxiety is no exception. I’ve been exceedingly blessed to have a strong support system around me my entire life, one that gave me the space I needed to talk through those issues.
I can’t remember a time when I’ve been ashamed of my anxiety. I don’t try to pretend I have it all together. I am an open book; anyone can see when I am struggling. I’ve never understood why so many people try to cover up the fact that they have mental health issues.
If you broke your arm, would you try to hide it?
And yet so many people hide behind this facade, pretending everything is fine. One in five teens have some form of a mental disorder, but there’s still this stigma surrounding it. Why should we hide our issues, forcing ourselves to struggle silently and alone?
We live in a culture where perfection is the standard. Everyone is expected to get good grades, participate in a variety of extracurriculars, and maintain an active social life. The pressure we as teenagers face is undeniable and designed to break us. We create this illusion that we have it all together, when in reality we don’t.
It’s almost comical to me that so many people are facing mental health issues but are hiding behind a mask because they’re ashamed of what of others might think when there is a sea of people facing the same problems they are.
No one should have to walk through a battle with mental health alone. We need to stop hiding our issues and pretending that everything’s fine. We need to seek help, talk about our problems, and make mental health an acceptable topic of conversation.
Of course, it’s not easy opening up to someone and sharing the most vulnerable parts of yourself. But it’s so much easier to face life, knowing you’re not alone in your struggles. No one is. We just need to open up and share those struggles. Everyone is facing something, and it’s pointless to pretend we’re not.
Mental health shouldn’t be taboo. It should be handled with respect and maturity, but nonetheless dealt with. We can’t keep pretending that everything is fine. We need to break down these walls– this illusion. We need to bring mental health issues into the light and allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Because the most important thing is that we don’t face this alone.