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.