Panic Life

Fighting Stigma and Living with an Anxiety Disorder

Shush! Don't Talk About Mental Health Issues

People are often silenced when they try to speak about mental health.

Recently, I was criticized for sharing mental health issues on my personal blog. It was as if I was expressing something unsavory. Shush! Don't talk about depression or anxiety. No one wants to hear about those scary things. Let's just sweep those topics under the rug and talk about benign topics like kittens. 

In reality, if we ignored mental health, we would also be neglecting the 61.5 million Americans a year that are experiencing some form of mental ilnness. But we shouldn't talk about it. Because it might upset or offend some people.

The fact is, we need to speak candidly about mental health because if we don't, that's when the trouble starts. We have seen a rise in school shootings in the 21st century in our country. This isn't all connected to gun control, this is about the fact that we are intentionally disregarding and not addressing mental health.

Learning to be honest about living with mental illness is key. Be who you are. If you have depression, you can work with a therapist and/or psychiatrist to learn coping strategies to manage your condition. The same goes for PTSD, bipolar, and other mental health issues.

There is nothing shameful about having a mental health issue. You are a human being. You have the right to express your feelings and be yourself just like the rest of the world. 

We need to stop shaming people (like myself) who are trying to shed light on a topic that has been shrouded in darkness for centuries. 

Speak up.

Use your voice.

Tell your story.

The more you are honest about who you are, the more we can change the world for people living with mental illness. 

Sarah Fader is a mental illness advocate and mother of two living with panic disorder in New York City.

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