By: Dana Zillgitt, IATG Contributor April 1, 2016
Recently, my Facebook feed has been swarming with something that’s always been difficult for me to discuss. More and more people are coming clean with their struggles with mental health in an effort to destigmatize it and to make it something less taboo to discuss openly. It makes me so ecstatically happy to see mental health issues becoming more and more of a common discussion piece.
I’ve been struggling with anxiety, depression, and OCD for the better part of 11 years now, officially being diagnosed when I was 20. In the grand scheme of things, my disorders could have been far more severe or even more self-deprecating than they already are. But I’ve learned, for the most part, what works for me in managing my stress levels, anxiety, and OCD behaviour. It’s been a lot of trial and error, specifically with the latter, but I’ve learned.
Until recently, I was really conscious about who I divulged my issues to, because there were always the comments like, “But Dana, you’re hilarious. You can’t be depressed!” or “You’re too carefree to be anxious!” or my favourite, “But you don’t switch the tap on and off 12 times before you wash your hands. That’s a lie.” These stigmas in regards to our mental health are only making it more difficult for those who struggle with them.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have my bad days, and I still have days where I would rather do anything but get myself out of my funk.
It’s more comfortable to be mediocre, to let the disorders win. It’s way easier to be comfortable than to refuse to let that black cloud win.
But to see my newsfeed start trickling in with people or articles or Buzzfeed lists that prove I’m not alone is refreshing. It’s nice to know that there are people out there that understand. People who don’t need me to explain the complexity of having trouble mentally. It’s also given me the insight into how other disorders or diseases can affect somebody. It’s funny how social media contributes so much to our mental health, typically in a negative way, but I think the conversation just might be finally shifting in the right direction for once.
Let’s help change the stigma of mental illness! Take to social media and share an article or blog about these struggles and get the conversation rolling!
Dana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.