I’ve tried to write this blog post three times already but I keep erasing all my thoughts. I can’t seem to think of writing something that would be interesting enough for people to actually read. Will I come across as interesting enough in my writing? (Is a thought that constantly plagues my mind as I write this). Can I actually write? (I’m not sure about the answer to that question either.) What I do know is, today is #BellLetsTalk day, a day set for Bell to donate 5cents to Mental Health Initiatives for every text, call, and tweet sent with the hashtag. Mental health is an important issue that is dear to my heart. Through a tragic life event (I will explain what exactly happened in a series of future blog posts so look out for this please), I developed major depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms (This will also be explained in future blog posts).
Now I know what you readers are thinking. “You are majorly depressed?” “Why can’t you just be happy or snap out of it?” “You’re psychotic?” “Does that mean you are crazy!?” “OH MY GOD YOU’RE A CRAZY !” “Girl you just need Jesus in yo life!” Yes, these are all real questions that was asked when I told some people of my mental illness. At first, I was upset but then I quickly realized that a lot of people actually have no idea about mental health. I seriously find this so sad. Unfortunately, if it were that easy to just “be happy”, then there wouldn’t be millions of people in the world actively seeking therapy, and/or, prescription drugs to help them battle their mental illness. Mental health is a serious issue that needs to be addressed not just by famous people who have a mental illness, but also by us and by us I mean WE the “regular” folk who don’t have all the same resources that famous people do (Please don’t think that I’m knocking famous people who have mental illnesses down, I am merely saying that some people will not find them relatable). It shouldn’t take a day or a famous person to “come out” before mental health is brought to light. Mental health should be a topic that people are not afraid to speak about. Mental health initiatives should be integrated into our workplaces, our schools and our hospitals. If I told my boss that I had a broken arm and that I had to stay home from work, I’m sure she would say, “ Please stay home and rest, come back when you feel well enough”. If I told her that I was having a psychotic episode and I was hearing voices she honestly would not know what to say, and you know what? That is ok. I’d rather you not know what to say as opposed to assuming that someone who is battling a mental illness is just “crazy” and needs to be in a psych ward (which I was in, again, I will explain in a future blog post, and you better come back and read it). I’d rather you ask questions about mental illness than to assume you know everything. People really need to understand that mental illness does not discriminate and 1 in 5 people you know are probably battling with a mental illness right now. Instead of people battling in the dark, we should all come together to support one another. Whether someone is battling cancer or a mental illness, all health should be treated along the same lines. Although this is a short post, I look at it as though it is my small “coming out” story. Hello to everyone reading this, my name is Augustina -Antwiaah and I too have a mental illness. I hope that you will return to Afua on Love to continue with me on this journey as I post about my life, which is so interesting I have decided. Thanks for reading!