I have been involved with mental health and awareness activism since I first realized what "suicide" was. I was about 8 years old. I didn't begin having difficulties with life until soon after, I fell into a deep depression and what's worse is that I had to live with the suffering because I belonged to a family and ignorant society that knew more about video games and celebrity gossip than about mental health. It was hard when you're a kid and you start to show signs of a mental illness and the adults dismiss it because they don't believe children can develop mental illnesses like Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder. This was the social majority bullshit belief. I suffered until I was 21 years old, and because of the rampant ignorance that surrounded mental health, I suffered alone and in silence reeking of shame and resentment towards myself. In 2005, I was given an official diagnosis that confirmed my suspicions for the last 13 years. Now what?
The first thought in my mind was "I don't want to die" --You see, growing up, general knowledge about mental illnesses and disorders was damn near unspoken of or greatly misunderstood. My family believed that getting a mental illness diagnosis was a slow, steady progressive death sentence--no hope for recovery. Back then, you had to work hard to hide symptoms, lie about why you can't get out of bed or show up somewhere (having a cold or flu was the most effective lie), and NEVER getting professional help because then you would be labeled as "crazy" or "psychotic" and "unpredictable" or even "violent"; this was a time when stigma was THICK and the worst part was how that ignorance and discrimination was socially accepted by the masses all over the world. It was a tough time to live through, and even a tougher time overcoming these social barriers.
The only way I knew that I was going to make a difference in the perspectives of those with an illness, was to become as successful as I can. Live against the stereotypes. Force ignorance to cower and fade out over time. Do what my father unfortunately couldnt.....live life to the fullest.