Here we go into another awareness month. I’m coming off the hyper-aware autism awareness month (because for me, EVERY day is autism awareness day), and entering mental health awareness month. For me, these awareness months are like a double edged sword. I can tell people all about facts and figures about mental health. It’s not going to do a lick of good if I don’t get a bit of acceptance with the awareness. Granted, there is a huge social stigma with
many all mental illnesses.
Many of us will withdraw into ourselves because we don’t feel accepted or loved. It’s a double edged sword because in order to get out of the pit, we need to reach out for help.
Many of us wish that our loved ones would show more compassion. We try to explain to our loved ones what is going on in our brains, what we need, and why we need it. Sometimes, we get lucky and find someone who gets it. Other times, we end up feeling like we’re talking to a wall, and the cycle of falling into a pit starts all over again.
Many of us wish that we could talk openly about what we’re enduring, but because of stigma, we’re afraid because we don’t want others to judge us or call us ‘that crazy one’. We’re also afraid of losing friendships because of our mental illness.
Many of us dream of a day when we don’t fall into that pit, when things aren’t overwhelming, when we can feel loved and accepted for who we are as people.
Did you know that women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression in their lifetime?
The average age-of-onset for major depression is 32 years old.
In a 12 month prevalence, 6.7% of the United States adult population will be diagnosed with major depression.
(All facts from the National Institute of Mental Health)
So, what can a friend/coworker/family member do?