Updated: Feb 4, 2021
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 that knew more about video games and celebrity gossip than about mental health. It was hard being a kid and experiencing signs of a mental illness and ALL of the adults around me dismiss it because they didn't believe children could develop mental illnesses like Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder. Today, we obviously know this not to be true, but that's what was told to me when I was younger.
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.