Bell Media is up against some stiff competition for media attention given the current political clime in the United States. Bell has designated January 25 as Let’s Talk Day in support of mental health.
We seem to have slid the word mental under the derogatory umbrella of words like psycho, crazy, whack-o, nuts and fruitcake. Really, the word mental refers to the brain. We have brain seizures, brain tumors, brain injury, brain aneurysms and no one is afraid or ashamed to talk about them. So, why does the term chemical imbalance of the brain open a forum for fear, shame and abuse?
My mother was a wonderfully creative, popular and kind woman. She worked hard at her job, loved her family, kept an immaculate house and had squeaky clean children. She also happened to have bi-polar disorder. At times, it rendered her dysfunctional, severely depressed and suicidal. She fought every day to keep her illness under control and with the help of doctors and medication managed quite successfully.
I am blessed to have inherited some of my mother’s qualities. Perhaps I’m not so blessed to have inherited some of the characteristics of her illness. My symptoms presented at a very young age with official diagnosis at age 10. It saddens me that in 2017 we have to run a campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health that both my mother and I endured 50 years ago.
My message to the stigmatizers, skeptics, and silent sufferers is: get over it. There is nothing to fear and nothing of which to be ashamed. One thing for certain, I will talk about it and I will not suffer in silence. Will you join me?