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43.8 million adults in America suffer from mental illness.
Why aren’t we talking about this more?
Mental illness is something we don’t talk about. There’s a stigma attached. BUT WHY?
I don’t know. I wish I did. Maybe if we talked about mental illness more, that could have saved you.
I did not talk about my personal struggles with my mental illnesses until I was 18. So that means, I suffered in silence for 18 years. Some people suffer in silence their entire lives. Why aren’t we working harder as a PLANET to make mental illness something as acceptable to discuss as any other illness?
I am lucky enough to have had someone in my world at 18 years old who encouraged me to talk about my struggles, and to get the help that I so deserved. If it weren’t for her, you lucky ducks wouldn’t be hearing my shrill and persistent voice. Every day, I am thankful that she gave me a place to feel safe and comfortable in talking about what was happening in my head. From that moment on, I promised the rest of the world that I would work to provide that same safe space for those who don’t have it.
It’s incredibly hard to form relationships with other humans knowing that I am someone who lives with a mental illness. My Anxiety and Depression argue with each other consistently upon meeting someone new. Do I let them into the world in which I reside inside my own head? Do I keep that part of my life hidden from them? What if they have a negative reaction? What if I feel like I can’t ever be myself around them?
How many times did I have to have that conversation with myself before I realized- anyone who doesn’t accept me for exactly who I am, in spite of all of my struggles and all of my ailments and all of my flaws, isn’t anyone I really want to be around in the first place. The answer is: 193 times, probably. I am so lucky that I will never have to have that conversation in my head ever again.
It’s an incredible blessing that I have surrounded myself with people who love me for being Olivia. My friends, and my family, and the people I have deemed my (unrelated) family, continue to provide that safe place that my sweet friend did all of those years ago.
I can’t help but worry that the rest of the world isn’t as fortunate as I am to have a place they can go to when they need to feel the warmth of their loved ones. SO, on this cold, Friday afternoon, I hope as you are reading this, you know that I will provide that safe space for you. I won’t pry, or meddle, or ask any questions. I will just give you a warm and loving embrace, and tell you how much the world needs you.
For my S, R, Lul, J.
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