The term 'mental illness' is a very interesting one. I've been writing a book about my personal experience with it, a book I hope to share with you soon enough. It just requires a lot of editing at the moment.
But I digress...
One of the key things I have contemplated again and again is the stigma that goes along with the term and where that stigma comes from. Thing is, we've all been there. Take the word 'mental' out and drop-in 'physical' instead. There are a lot of physical illnesses and they can range from the common cold and minor aches and pains to something as severe as cancer or AIDS. Physical illnesses certainly do have their own stigma's, but there is a certain sense of acceptance about getting sick.
We all get sick.
Well, same thing goes for our brains. Pay attention to your thoughts and the tangents they can go on. You brain has a mind of it's own, as funny as that sounds. If we don't take care of it, just like if we don't take care of our bodies, we're inclined to get ill.
And just like a cold is telling us we're run-down and maybe not getting enough sleep or eating the right foods, a burst of anxiety or a bout of depression can be a clear signal that something needs to change. Some of us experience it more often than others,but we all know the signs and symptoms. This is why it's so important we remember the role we play in our own lives.
We are the manufacturers of our own happiness and our own misery. It is not enough to accept the ailments that afflict us as a fact of life. We have the responsibility to ourselves to be as compassionate, wise and capable as we know we can be.
Hazel Dooney is an incredible example of this. Here is a woman who knows quite intimately the strain that can come from feeling as if your mind is in a battle against you. She blogs about it, she shares it in her work, sometimes she even needs to take some time to focus on just fighting that fight.
But she never lets it stop her.
She knows who she is and she knows that whatever little pauses she may encounter on the way, she is an artist and she will create her art.
She is more than worthy of the Mighty Woman status and I am grateful for her encouragement on a both professional and a personal level. I honestly don't believe this sketch is particularly good, but it's not shit either and reading Hazel's blog has taught me that sharing all aspects of yourself is a good way to grow.