I’ve been feeling sick for almost a week now. I don’t like taking medication, but lately Dayquil, Advil and handfuls of cough drops have been my bread and butter. My mom even went to the extent of making me chicken noodle soup. I felt slightly better after the soup and crackers, and confident that I was no longer on my deathbed I was comfortable enough to go to sleep.
I may be reading too deep into things, but as it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve been thinking too hard about everything. I wonder why it’s so easy to address physical health issues, to talk about them and treat them, and ultimately leave them behind. Why is mental health so much more complicated and difficult?
I’ve always known that I had a mental illness, and I know I will live with it for the rest of my life. Although it’s a little daunting to think about, I can’t say I wish I didn’t have this mental illness. I know that I am who I am thanks in part to it. Although it can be a struggle some days, I consider it a fundamental part of my identity. Still, I only recently became comfortable talking about it openly. Why did it take me until I was 18-years-old? I’ve received nothing but love and support from anyone I’ve talked to since, and that’s something I didn’t expect from our culture of shame and stigma.
I’ve already overcome the stigma of going to therapy and went to several sessions during my freshman year of college. However, I didn’t make time for it during sophomore year and I regret that. I already know that I need to make time for it in my schedule this upcoming school year. My school provides free sessions (to a certain extent) and I know that’s a luxury I won’t be offered once I graduate.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this, I just know I’m sick and I’m tired and I want to be able to have open conversations about my mental health. With Awareness Month about to wrap up, I want everyone to feel like they can engage in an open dialogue about their own mental health, just as easily as we talk about our physical health.