The mental health system needs to change.
The stigma needs to be erased.
For years I’ve struggled with getting help when needed. It seems almost impossible at times. 2 year wait lists for eating disorder treatment or throwing thousands of dollars at private treatment centres. Going to the hospital plagued with suicidal thoughts only to be sent home 3 hours later with nothing but a simple “we can’t do anything for you.” Trying to find a psychologist only to figure out that the closest one is 1.5 hours away and will cost you $200 per one 50 minute appointment. Being asked to leave a job because my scars are disgusting to customers. Hearing people joke about how if you are that depressed, you might as well kill yourself.
At what point will someone realize that our fight to stay alive is impacted by the world’s view that mental illness is not as serious as physical illness? At what point will people understand that their words penetrate our minds with doubt and fear of reaching out? How can we be okay with the lack of resources?
To those who have never experienced the heart breaking feeling when a professional tells you that they can’t help you or the feeling that they won’t believe you if you tell them what is going on, please know that we are not exaggerating our hurt. We are not weak for asking for or needing help. We are not crazy.
We are broken and brave.
We are courageous for continuing to attempt to use the system when it has failed us so many times.
We are powerful for advocating for our own mental health when no one else will.
We are strong for accepting the “no’s” and then trying again.
We are the lucky ones. We are alive when so many before us were failed by the system and did not survive.
We are fighting against an army that claims to be for us but never really seems to be.
The system needs to change because the lives we lose to mental illness are just as valuable as everyone else. It needs to change because mental illness is hard enough to fight, let alone fighting against the system as well.
I don’t know how to make this change. All I know is that I am not my diagnosis and I deserve help and support whether I can afford it or not.
I will continue to share my story until my lungs collapse if that is what it takes to end the stigma.
What will you do?