Updated: Feb 7, 2020
Hi. My name is Elisabeth, and I’m diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Did you flinch? Do you feel uncomfortable with that revelation? Are you wondering if I’m secretly crazy, about to strip naked and run down the hallways, laughing hysterically? Don’t worry, I’m perfectly normal (well, as normal as a writer or artist can be, I suppose). But I worried about telling you, because I’ve been judged before for this label, and it hurts - a quick paper cut against white, long fingers.
Did you know according to MHA, 2.3 million Americans alone were diagnosed with bipolar disorder? And yet it is still viewed as somehow shameful. When I became a massage therapist, I had to write to my State Medical Board and explain that I was bipolar. My psychiatrist had to write a letter detailing my diagnosis and approving me to work with clients as a licensed massage therapist. In some ways, this absolutely makes sense to me. I wouldn’t do much good for anyone unless I were stable and on medication. And yet still, it felt as I were being singled out, for a brain imbalance that was out of my control.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling.
How many people have been silent when the topic of mental health arises?
We are taught not to say anything. We are taught to be ashamed of it. Men are told not to cry, for the shame of being too emotional. Women are ridiculed for being vocal about abuse. Why wouldn’t we all just shut up and never say a word about it again?
Because that’s not healthy.
Because we deserve to be heard.
Because we could prevent suicide. On average, there are 129 suicides a day. That’s over 5 people per hour. Something must be done. So hear I am, speaking up, hoping that someone will read this and listen.
I’ve known quite a few people who have committed suicide in my life, some of them very close friends. I’ve known more who have attempted it, and luckily failed. And they all felt alone, felt as if they weren’t being heard, felt as if there were no other choices. Don’t judge someone for being suicidal. Don’t call them selfish. Don’t ever, under any circumstance, tell them they should do it - even if it’s reverse psychology, and you’re just mad as hell at them for even mentioning it. You’ll only end up pushing them further into that state of mind. They spoke up to prevent that final end, to reach out to someone who might lead them out of that darkness; they were seeking help.
Mental health is still a stigma in our society and it needs to end now! Let’s raise our voices to the sky!
We are not crazy.
We are not alone.
We need help.
You are not alone.
I’ve got your back.
If you are feeling suicidal please call this hotline:
(photo credit to: Laura M. B. Schmidt, Instagram: @lauramariewrites)