Soon, you will see a bombastic rant here, as my event is eight days away. But in the meantime, I try to remind myself that some of the people participating, are not, although it may seem this way, doing so to annoy me.
A friend texted me with some kind words today, saying she was impressed because the event was "a shitload of work." It is...but I have help.
The fact of the matter is that although we have a long way to go with mental health advocacy and awareness, we have made progress.
On any given day, I am likely to rant about why we are so far behind other health/illness/wellness movements, considering the fact that 1 in 4 adults lives with some type of mental illness, and 1 in 10 children does also. I am prone to getting frustrated when hearing stories of providers who do not listen to their patients, of news media who cover much smaller events than ours for no other reason that we can tell, other than it's not a sexy cause.
And then there are moments when I remind myself that we've come really far even since I was in high school - that we have, in fact, made enormous progress even if we're not on equal footing or where we want to be.
As some of you know, that's when I had the beginning of the bad, bad depression. Times when I wanted to die and had no reason I could pin point for feeling this way. There were no student support groups. There were no campaigns telling people it was OK to talk, that there was hope, that things could get better. There were actually no professionals that we had heard of saying that teenagers could have mental illness.
Fast forward 20 years. There are green ribbons. There is Mental Health Month. There is Children's Mental Health Day. Insurance companies can't reject people like me just because we're wired the way we are, and they have to pay for us to get help. My organization took the lead on this in my state, before I joined, and I am proud of that.
raise money and awareness about the work we have ahead.
Unfortunately there is no cure. I resign myself to the fact that the PTSD will still give me nightmares sometimes. That a handful of days a year, I will be so anxious that I'll want to hide under my desk, or so depressed that I will have to tell myself, over and over, that this will pass. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams to have a partner and family and friends who I can talk to and who support me when this happens. And I know I am luckier than many, many people.
So we keep going. A volunteer told me the other day that when she was growing up in the 50s, no one talked about cancer. It was considered private, embarrassing. Now, we have survivors and overwhelming public support for treatment and recovery and cures.
I am confident we will get there. Until then, we'll keep agitating. And remembering that at least we're no longer in the dark.