they’re not bad words

“Mental illness”
“Depression”

“Anxiety”

“Bipolar”

“Medication”

“Therapy”

“Help” 

“I’m not okay”

Those are just a few words that people hate to say. Some hate to hear it or can’t accept it. The truth can be hard to hear and even more difficult to accept. No one wants to hear they have a mental illness that will never go away. 

One of the hardest things I’ve had to do was listen and hear about the things I didn’t understand about myself. In simple terms, it sucked. No one wants to hear that something is “wrong” with them and it just brought this feeling of shame. No one wants to hear that if they want to live a more “normal” life they’ll have to take medication for the rest of their life. 

Mental illness is not a fun thing to deal with, but it is not one of the worst things. Almost everyone I know struggles with a mental illness or their mental health once in awhile. It’s a normal thing and you’d be surprised about how many people deal with a mental illness and never tell anyone. I didn’t tell a single soul about my mental health until a close friend told me his story and that it doesn’t matter. 

He was right. There’s this stigma around having a mental illness (and I really hate calling it an illness) that is evident everywhere and simply not okay. No one should feel as if they are scared to say what they are dealing with. That shame and embarrassment is a feeling that should not be common when given a diagnosis, yet every person has it. To be honest, I still feel shame about a recent diagnosis. I am very public about everything, but this new thing I’m dealing with. I hate that I’m embarrassed, but I’m working every day to accept it so that at some point I can go public with it. 

Mental illness is not a bad word. Saying whatever you have, whatever is going on in your brain is not bad. Bad words are offensive words and none of those are offensive. They can be taken out of context and others can attempt to hurt you with them, but that’s bullshit. The sooner we all realize that none of those words are bad, the sooner we will be able to connect and support one another. 

My name is Kate and I struggle with my mental health sometimes. I tend to get anxious which leads to me not wanting to leave my bed. Nothing is wrong with me and I know it can be weird to see how open I am about it. This isn’t for attention, this is to help those who feel shame surrounding their mental state. 

There will always be a few people who will use mental health words in a negative way to hurt others. There is nothing that can stop that from happening, but attempting to end the stigma as much as possible would help a lot. It would eliminate that loneliness that’s often associated around mental illness. It will get rid of the embarrassment people experience during their first time waiting in line at the pharmacy for antidepressants. It would allow people to be able to say “ I can’t, I have therapy” rather than “I can’t I have a dentist appointment” or “I have to work.” 

There should never be an excuse for who you are. Mental health is a part of every person and that will never be changed. It is time to stop looking at those words as bad. They’re not bad, they help put a word and definition to the feelings people experience.

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