It’s World Mental Health Day!
Everyone deals with mental health whether it’s severe or not, whether you think you do or not, whether you need medicine for it or not. If you have a brain you deal with mental health and therefore we should be discussing it far more than we do.
I’ve dealt with mental health all my life. I didn’t always understand it or want to believe I was dealing with it, but that was largely due to the stigma around even just talking about mental health. I normally felt like something was wrong with me because nobody discussed those hard deep feelings and I was feeling those feelings.
It honestly wasn’t until I started just being open and honest about my struggles with mental health that I realized how not alone I was…that more people dealt with this and didn’t feel comfortable talking about it or they just didn’t have anyone that they felt understood. But people do understand and we need to open these uncomfortable but necessary conversations up. We need our people to know that they can talk about their mental health without fear of judgment.
This largely applies to the mental health of those in the disability community. We need to give disabled people space to talk about the hard reality of living with a disability and how that impacts our mental health on top of the mental health we already deal with as humans. I can only talk about my experience here, and this spinal cord injury life is not easy.
I’ve always had depression and anxiety even when I didn’t think I did. Of course it wasn’t until I was older and had more knowledge on the subject myself that I finally realized that that was what I was dealing with mentally. And then my injury happened and that mental hurdle is hard. I said ‘is’ because it’s some thing that I still deal with and will probably always deal with. Living life as a disabled person in a wheelchair in a world that in so many ways shows they don’t care about disabled people is really really hard and I feel like it’s talked about but not in the sense that it’s a long-term effort to wake up every day and decide that you are going to live your best disabled life regardless of all the obstacles you know you are going to face that day because of said disability. And even the obstacles you don’t expect to encounter but that happen throughout the day because disability is ever-changing and even though it requires a routine, it’s also very spontaneous and you must leave room for surprise.
This probably makes absolutely no sense to those of you who don’t deal with this but disability and mental health is extremely important to me. Mental health struggles are very real and disability struggles are very real and when you pair having a mental health issue with having a disability that can be really hard mentally.
Disabled people experience more mental distress throughout their day than those who are non-disabled. We discussed this in our suicide prevention blog and it’s important to recognize that. Disability is hard. That doesn’t mean that there’s parts of disability that aren’t joyful because trust me there definitely is. But we must talk about that and let’s be real, first we need to be comfortable talking about disability.
Society has this idea of disability and what disability is and more than often it’s painted as disabled and miserable. That’s a conversation in and of itself but for this blog, I want to pose a question. If society views disabled people as miserable then why aren’t we at the forefront of mental health conversations? Why aren’t we even in the discussion most times? Why aren’t we in the room? Think about that.
The disability community struggles with more mental health issues according to statistics and yet it’s not talked about. It needs to be talked about! So really think about that question I brought up and then talk to your people about it. Educate yourself on the vast world of disability. Talk about Disability! Talk about Mental Health!
And ask someone you love / care about how they’re doing mentally?
Keep having these conversations & remember our mission:
We are all human. Regardless of race, sexuality, gender, disability, religion, etc. We are all experiencing, healing, learning, adapting, and growing. Simply being human.
Experiencing mental health is just a part of being human and it’s ok to open up about it. We need to open up about it! Please keep having these conversations and remember to be kind!
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