Someone bought me a tattoo as a gift and said “just do it”. So I did.
The semi colon tattoo has so much meaning to me. It symbolizes ones story whether it be personal, relational or situational, it doesn’t have to end. Today marks exactly 5 years that my aunt, who was more like a sister to me, took her life. That’s right, I mentioned the “S” word. It’s interesting when a traffic accident takes someone’s life, when someone passes of old age, or leaves the earth too suddenly that people tend to want to help and talk about it.
I’ve experienced that with my grandmother passing away unexpectedly. My family received a ton of support, everyone wanted to talk about it, even if no one knew what to say.
However, when it comes to suicide (there I said the “S” word) people reacted quite differently towards me and avoided the subject all together. It makes people awkward.
In fact, all mental illness tends to make people uncomfortable, it’s a subject that many tend to avoid.
Yet how come when people get the flu, have surgery or go for regular doctor checkups, that it is considered normal to take care of your physical well being and treat the ailment at hand medically. Somehow taking care of ourselves psychologically / emotionally is taken strange. Even seeing a counselor, the usual question people ask is “what’s wrong with you or her/him?” or “what’s wrong with that couple?”
It’s a lot more comfortable in a social setting, or at least I feel, to tell people your going to a doctors appointment versus telling people you have an appointment with a shrink.
People react different.
You can get medication anywhere. You can get it at a gas station, stores, over the counter, from your doctor etc.
When we get headaches we take Tylenol, after surgery we usually get something more intense like morphine, when our stomach is upset we may take gravel and so on and so forth.
However when the discussion of medication for one’s mental health comes up, it’s not taken quite like that.
No one wants to know let alone watch someone take medication for depression, postpartum, PTSD, anxiety, or bipolar.
It’s sad that mental health has such a stigma and this tattoo reminds me that I intend to break the taboo of mental health.
With a close, precious loved one choosing to end their life from a mental illness, I want to raise awareness of how many resources there are and how much it impacts those left behind.
I remember it was hard to face facts when I learned suicide is a mental illness, because my aunt was such a happy, amazing, smart and just normal person.
My mother has schizophrenia, not many people know or want to know. Does that make me proud? No. Am I embarrassed? Sometimes.
Was it hard to write and share this? Yes. Do I feel judged? Kinda.
I don’t take medication, yet, but I have been diagnosed with a type of anxiety disorder based on hypochondria that sends me into panic attacks about my health. It effects my life in every single way.
I didn’t want to come to terms with it being classified as a “mental illness” . It doesn’t mean someone’s crazy (although sometimes unfortunately it does), they just have an ailment.
Mental illness comes in many different forms and I just listed 3.
Anyone suffering from any form of mental illness should be able to talk about it as casually as saying, I’m suffering from the flu, I have diabetes or I broke my foot.
Our physical and mental state are both important aspects of our body. Some would argue mental being more important.
Anyways, let’s break stereotypes and raise awareness for anyone else suffering from mental illness or knows anyone that is. Let’s make it a talked about subject to decrease the amount of anxiety, depression and suicidal tenancy’s our society faces yet mostly chooses to ignore.