“You don’t have to fake it. You do not have to fake it. Other people feel this way too. If your heart is broken, it’s okay to say your heart is broken. If you feel stuck, it’s okay to say you feel stuck. If you can’t let go, it’s okay to say you can’t let go. You are not alone in these places. Other people feel how you feel.” – Jamie Tworkowski
Last Thanksgiving I branded myself with two little words on the outside of my wrist. And it was one of the scariest things I have ever done.
Pedal fast. The two words that changed my life.
I don’t know if it is because I’m older now, or because I’ve involved myself more in the conversation surrounding mental health, or because I have shared my own struggle with mental health, or because society has actually made progress, but from where I sit right now, I really do think that these past few years have seen huge steps towards the de-stigmatization of mental illness.
And yet, still nearly half of those struggling with mental illness do not seek help.
So we are still doing something wrong.
And if I’m being honest, we are doing more than a couple things wrong. But for now, let’s just talk about one thing: we are placing mental illnesses in systems of hierarchy.
March 1st is self-injury awareness day. But not a lot of people seem to know that. A fair amount of people know when suicide awareness week is, or when sexual assault awareness week is, or that this week is eating disorder awareness week. Every year, these awareness weeks are recognized, as they should be. They address important issues and work towards the de-stigmatization and increased awareness of important mental health issues.
But self-harm awareness day? It just isn’t talked about. And that’s an issue.