Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mental Illness

There's a stereotype about "millennials", and how we're more open about our mental health issues than the generations before us. It's usually talked about in a negative way, with the stigma associated it with being mentally ill seemingly dripping through the holes in every letter of every word in the sentence. We're either just whining for attention, or we're unhinged and unable to be trusted.

That fear of being even more marginalized than I already was, as a visually-impaired person growing up in a small town where it was routinely made clear that I wasn't wanted, crippled me.

I was afraid that people's initial reaction would be "Of course she's depressed - she's blind!", despite my lack of visual playing no role.

When I moved to Finland, I tried to talk openly about my illness, but I quickly learned that here, too, it's not something people want to think about.

Every day is a struggle. No matter how much I love my job, my friends, or the people around me, I will always be battling these demons.  I have come a long way from where I used to be, but I have accepted the fact that I will never be "normal."

Not having to hide this side of myself is an important step in coping. I grew up in two households, one of which viewed metal illness as a weakness, and reacted to my diagnosis with "Well, yeah. We knew there was something wrong with you."(that's just the tip of the verbal iceberg).

This delayed any treatments I would have so desperately needed.

Now I'm 26 and trying to move forward.


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