Let’s Talk about Mental Illness Like we Talk about Migraines

Let’s imagine for a moment that I posted a Facebook status saying
“I really hope this migraine goes away soon. It’s impossible to study for finals right now.”

Most people wouldn’t bat an eye at that. Having migraines, unfortunately, is super common. I would get sympathy and maybe even some advice.

Now, let’s imagine I posted this status on Facebook:
“I really hope this PTSD episode goes away soon. It’s impossible to study for finals right now.”

I feel like even in this day and age, even with so many people fighting mental illness stigma, it would still be a little strange and out of place if I posted the second status right now. 

I haven’t been very open about having symptoms of mental illness. I’m starting to see that it’s kinda ridiculous that I don’t bring this up more often. I’m not ashamed that I have symptoms of a mental illness. Why should I be? However, I only talk about my PTSD symptoms with people who know about my past… so in other words, next to no one. I honestly would love to feel comfortable confiding in more people. It really sucks to pretend to be “normal” when my body is in fight/flight/freeze mode and I’m experiencing flashbacks.

This is going to change. From now on, I’m going to try to be more open about my mental health. I want an end to mental illness stigma, but it won’t end unless people start talking about it. Be the change, right!? So now on, if someone asks me how I am, I won’t lie if I’m having a crummy day. I will say “Not so great. My PTSD symptoms are giving me some trouble today.” I’ll treat it no differently than I would if I had a migraine.

The brain malfunctions just like any other part of the body can. Brains get sick too. It’s not a sign of weakness. It shouldn’t be taboo to discuss. So if I can complain of a migraine, I sure as hell should be able to complain about PTSD symptoms as well. Because mental illness is a pain, and no one should have to suffer it alone or feel nervous to talk about it.

Edit: Whoops. This post is a tad ablist.

 

Thank you for reading this post. You can find my backstory here.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Mental Illness Like we Talk about Migraines

  1. I’m not sure that thinking about the brain as malfunctioning is the best way to go forward. Really bad stuff happens, and if leaves wounds that don’t heal easily. There is nothing wrong with someone for not healing according to someone else’s schedule. It is those who seek no healing who are most damaged, I think, those who pretend they are fine.

    Like

    1. You’re right. It’s totally normal and okay for people to heal in different ways.
      However, I personally like to think of my brain as malfunctioning and I feel that it’s a way to reduce mental health stigma. The brain, like any other organ, sometimes doesn’t act the way it’s supposed to. My brain isn’t supposed to go into fight/flight/freeze mode when someone touches the side of my ribs. My brain isn’t supposed to go into fight/flight/freeze mode when people speak in a certain tone of voice. Therefore, I think of my brain as malfunctioning. And I also think of my brain as malfunctioning because of pictures like these: http://ptsdvietnam1.weebly.com/uploads/5/1/4/3/51434095/9015818.jpg?460

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s