Shame Shame, Go Away

Article By: Stephanie Acevedo

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few years ago. To be honest not many people know about this as It has been hard to accept that I have this illness, until this present day. Every time I’ve gotten ill again is because I’ve been off medication because I thought I could fight it on my own, I mean who wants to admit that something is wrong!? Medication isn’t your enemy, as I’ve learnt the hard way.

To be honest I don’t know why what happened, happened the way it did, but I shouldn’t blame myself. My illness doesn’t define me at all.

Shame is often associated with mental illness, and as a person suffering from it, we seem to isolate ourselves and think people will view us differently if we were to open up and tell them. We think people will judge us, as If it is our fault and I personally don’t care anymore. I believe we deserve the same amount of respect that someone with a physical illness has. It doesn’t make you any less human and you are perfectly capable to achieve through life.

In fact here are a few names of successful, impactful people who have had a different type of mental illnesses:

• Martin Luther King Jr – Depression
• Mariah Carey diagnosed with Bipolar disorder
• Princess Diana suffered from Depression and Bulimia
• Isaac Newton is recorded to have shown signs of Bipolar, psychotic episodes and potential autism
• Jim Carrey – Depression
• John Nash had Schizophrenia
• Florence Nightingale had Bipolar
• Marilyn Monroe was never officially or publicly diagnosed but showed signs of Bipolar and borderline Personality Disorder

I am openly sharing this struggle with my own mental health issue, as I believe there should be more support with mental health around the community, including for ‘after hours’ of the night when things can seem even more uncertain. Its frightening if you don’t have enough support, but by sharing more personal stories like these we can make a difference, the more we speak up about it the more we are able to normalize this topic, we can give each other hope and educate those who don’t know much about these issues.

If you know someone who is struggling please don’t view them in a ‘what’s wrong with you’ manner and expect them to snap out of it. This isn’t something we’ve invented, it takes a lot of patience to understand what someone is really going through. A great thing you can do is keep an eye out on them and not view them as ‘weak.’

Don’t be embarrassed if you’re going through something. People with mental illness are by far the bravest, whether anxiety/depression etc, we are fighting our own Goliath and that takes damn courage more than you think. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, It’s a sign of strength and we shouldn’t ever be ashamed.

If you’re in a crisis please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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