Shattering The Stigma
A picture from my journal in 3rd grade
To me, hospitals are scary. They are so unpredictable for a variety of reasons, one mainly being that there are so many different people with such different reasons for being there. In medical hospitals, there are countless reasons as to why one might be admitted. Whether it be cancer, heart problems, respiratory problems, pregnant women delivering infants, blood testing and x-rays, the list goes on and on. However the reasons of someone being in a psychiatric hospital are much less in quantity, but also have much more in-depth and complicated details behind the labels of the different strands of mental illnesses.
While there are fewer mental illnesses than there are medical, the patients that are sent to both types of hospitals have many things in common. They are sick, they need additional help and care beyond what is provided to them in their “regular lives”, and in some cases, their reason for being admitted could have been facing a life or death situation. Although some illnesses found in patients who are in medical hospitals may be terminal, it should not discount or be considered any more or less painful to the complications and inconveniences that accompanies mental illnesses. And it’s not to say that depression is considerably worse than something like terminal cancer, but they shouldn’t be compared to each other, as they are two very different types of illnesses. Yet nonetheless, they can still make the victims of these illnesses very sick and could lead to hospitalizations, just in different ways.
Because I have been hospitalized so many times, I can start to find patterns and gain insight as to when and why things start to go plummeting downhill so quickly. I have been hospitalized in January 2013, March 2013, May 2013, January 2014, August 2014, July 2015, September 2015 and October 2015. In 2013, I was going in and out of the same hospital pretty much every month. Then it got slightly better in 2014 with only two hospitalizations, but I was also switching schools twice that year. Then this year, things started to fall apart again. As of right now, by the grace of God I am home. At this point I’ve given up on saying upon each discharge day that it will be my last hospitalization ever and that I’m never coming back. I’ve said that so many times while being released from so many different places and it makes me sound like such a hypocrite and liar if I keep saying it and not following through. So this time around I’m not saying that October 2015 was my last hospitalization ever, but at the same time I’m not planning on being re-admitted. I’m not counting the time that has elapsed since my return home because that leads to the pressure to be “perfect” and avoiding the important act of reaching out for help.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t usually expect to be going into the hospital, I’m not sad by choice and I’m certainly not happy or proud of being hospitalized so many times. As you are reading this and the other posts that are on my blog, you might start to wonder why so many of them involve my experiences in hospitals and programs. I even published a kindle book about my journey so far. And one might think, “If she’s not proud of being hospitalized, why does she write about it so much?”
So why do I talk about it so much? Because it needs to be talked about. People need to let other people know that mental illness isn’t what it’s made out to be in the stereotypes. It’s not the best thing and it’s not the worst thing. As I have thought more and more about how people think and interact with each other, I realized that sometimes the people who are resentful towards talking about mental illnesses may also have some unresolved issues going on themselves. While it may be awkward and upsetting to talk about, society’s views on mental illnesses need to be changed.
So I encourage you to shatter the stigma, talk about the uncomfortable topics that no one wants to even think about, share your experiences and don’t judge anyone for who they are and what they have gone through. No one is what they have gone through. I am not my depression. I am a girl and I will get better. And I hope and know very well that all who go through or have gone through similar experiences will get better too.