I wasn’t always that concerned with the welfare of people with mental health issues. I wasn’t actually aware that people with mental health issues needed anyone to be concerned for their welfare.
Then I found out that I have a mental health issue. Okay, you got me, I have two mental health issues. I have ADHD and I suffer occasionally from anxiety.
Having ADHD means having no filters, so when I first realized I had it, I mentioned it to several people … okay, anyone who would listen. There were many mixed reactions but the two reactions I hated the most were “You can’t have ADHD, you’re too smart.” and the one where the topic of conversation was changed, then the conversation was ended, then the association with me was ended.
I figured out very quickly that people know very little about ADHD, and what they do know is often based on rumour and falsehood. That’s what causes stigma, and I don’t accept stigma. So I set about to change that as much as I could.
Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that if I stood up to be counted as someone with a mental health issue in general, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder specifically, and if I continued to write my blog and do my best at that, people would have to accept the fact that ADHD was not necessarily what they thought it was. And maybe mental illness wasn’t either.
I still tell anyone who will listen that I have ADHD, and though I still have no filters, that’s not the reason I do this. I tell people about it because I hope that by making it about someone they know, or at least someone they’ve met, it becomes more obvious that mental illness is not an alien thing, not something that is kept hidden, not an issue to be ignored, feared or excused, mental illness is a part of life.
I have mental health issues, and I don’t accept stigma. I accept that you’re different from me, can you accept that I am different from you.
And can you understand that stigma is an unfair judgement? If you can, then help me spread the word, we aren’t accepting anymore stigma, we’ve had enough.
FreeCounselingHelp.com is America’s only directory connecting people with affordable counseling. There are thousands of non-profit agencies within America that are available to help those with limited means. FreeCounselingHelp.com allows people to quickly search by ZIP code and find the best fit for their mental health needs.
Mentalympians is a mental health community development initiative to raise awareness of mental health recovery, inspire hope, reduce self-stigma, foster recovery and also connect individuals who are interested in campaigning for mental health reform.
I would like to thank National Furniture Supply for their support. NFS is a seller of fine Hammary Products.