Awareness for mental illness is so important because of the stigma attached to it. When I had told a former friend that I have bipolar disorder, she jumped back and yelled, “Don’t attack me!” Seriously? I’ve never attacked anyone in my life.
Sadly, that’s not the only case of someone being judgmental and close-minded about the issue. People so often claim someone must be “bipolar” when they act angry. My husband and I have had to gently tell them that I have the disorder. The few times that these particular cases have come into play, have been met with warmer responses. So, there’s a silver lining in that.
The important thing with raising awareness is to fight the stigma against what we can’t control. We didn’t ask for a mental illness, but God did give us the brains and the creativity to open people’s eyes to how there’s so much more to having a mental illness than one realizes.
It’s time that we open up and talk about our conditions more. We don’t have to announce it when we walk into a room or say it when we introduce ourselves, but not be afraid to talk about it if the subject comes up. We need to show others that wonderful people deal with these issues every day and it may be the person that they’d least expect.
We didn’t ask for this, having a mental illness is in no way our fault. But we can be a light in the darkness and show people in a kind way, that what they think about the subject just might be wrong. You never know, they just might be grateful for the learning opportunity, even if it’s just learning something new about you. Remember though, always be kind. You can get more with an open heart than anything else!