My name is Missy Boser and I live with mental illness. When I was 24 years old I was diagnosed with depression. At 27 years old, I was also diagnosed with anxiety. Why am I telling you this? Because I think it is important to be open about mental illness. So I am going to start the conversation about mental illness!
This week, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, committed suicide. Two more people are gone due to mental illness. That is two too many! Maybe, just maybe, if mental illness wasn’t so taboo we wouldn’t have lost these two so early.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), in a given year nearly 1 in 5 American adults experience a mental illness. Also according to NAMI, mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.
How Can I Start a Conversation about Mental Illness?
- Ask – Ask them how they are feeling.
- Listen – Listen to what they are saying! Be an active listener that isn’t judging. Also, sometimes people just need to talk and are not looking for advice.
- Be Patient – For some people, it is hard to talk about their mental illness.
- Be Understanding – When they finally open up and talk to you about their mental illness let them know you understand. Better yet, if you have gone through something similar let them know!
- Have the Conversation As Many Times As Needed – Mental illness doesn’t go away overnight! If you see this person is struggling, start the conversation over again!
I have been having an open conversation about mental illness for a long time, probably since I was diagnosed. What makes it easier, for me, is that along the way I started to own and accept my anxiety. Now, as much as it is a hindrance it is also what drives me. It took a lot of therapy to get to this point but I got there and others can too. We just need to start talking about it!Let's remove the #stigma around #mentalillness by talking about it!Click To Tweet
My hope is that by being open about my mental illness it will show others that it’s okay to talk about. And in turn, we will reduce the stigma around mental illness. Will you help me start the conversation about mental illness?