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Today’s post is a tough one for me to type; the truth is that a rough copy of this has been sitting in my drafts for about 2 weeks now. Not because I am hesitant to talk about this issue, not because of shame, not because of fear of what people may say. This is tough because speaking about this situation makes it real, and this is not a reality I ever thought I would have to face.

Recently, 2 members of my immediate family has had to be hospitalized under strict psychiatric care, one of which is only 15 years old.

15 years old.

My heart hurts at the idea that such a wonderful soul could be so damaged. It kills me to come to the realization of what might be going on in their head.

I am no stranger to mental illness, as I have had my very own struggles for year. For this reason, I can begin to imagine the battles my family members have had to struggle with, and for so long in silence. I know how much of an uphill battle it can be at times, and I realize how hard it is to even complete the simplest tasks on a day to day basis. Both of these people have a potentially amazing future ahead of them, and the thought that it could be taken away because of an illness that is SO stigmatized, destroys me.

I’ve worked in the health care system for almost 2 years now, and I have come across so many cases of mental illness patients that have been treated so poorly. The truth of the matter is that mental illness is simply NOT taken seriously enough. We MUST start taking a stand and using our voices to health end the stigma. We MUST educate ourselves to recognize the signs and offer some kind of guidance to those who suffer. We NEED to make proper mental health services more accessible to everyone.

It’s sickening thinking of all the people still struggling out there. To be honest, sometimes I still suffer. It’s something that will not just simply go away with a few pills or therapy. It is something that takes time to work through. The reality is that you will live with it for the entirety of the time you have to walk on this Earth and the first thing you must do is just accept it. Accept that it is a part of you, and that there ARE things out there that can help ease the mental (and too often physical) pain associate with the illness.

We will all suffer, but we do not have to suffer alone.

So if you’re out there, if you’re reading this and you suffer from mental illness, whether it be diagnosed by a professional, or even if you have self “diagnosed” based on the similarities of certain traits you have, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and YOU WILL NEVER BE ALONE. Even if every physical person in your life can not understand your pain, know that there ARE people in this world just like you who have-and are-going through the SAME thing, if not very similar. Don’t be afraid to reach out to online communities, as most often they can be anonymous and can seek some real help from the people. Also, know that mental health professionals are trained and are knowledgeable and ARE able to provide you with the help you need. Even if at the time it seems so ridiculous and the methods they are using would never work, give it a chance. Give your life a chance.

So if you’ve made it to read this far, KNOW that I like you, and I appreciate you, and you can ALWAYS find a friend in me, no matter who you are.

-Dani

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