I have always been pretty lucky in my life. Never really had huge health issues, never really saw health issues in the adults in my life. Yeah, I saw my Dad’s Mom with alzheimer’s, but that was once with my Dad when I was to young to get it. I never knew my Mom had depression, never saw it. Looking back, maybe I might have seen it occasionally, but not until I (and her) were older. By then I was too involved in my own life to really understand.
The last few years I have had health issues. COPD/Chronic bronchitis, allergies, and Hypothyroidism, and more recently S.A.D. While they all come with a bit of “depression”, Thyroid problems can cause crushing depression. I have been LOATHED to label myself with depression, and won’t even let my doctor call it that, though he did label it S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder). There are 2 main reasons I do not like to give my depression it’s name and label. One, is the fear it will give it power, but the second, and maybe even more powerful reason, is I know the stigma still attached to mental health issues. I had enough bullying with my weight and bed wetting as a child, I didn’t want more as an adult, not when I was just coming to a balance within.
But, then I got to thinking. If I can own and talk about my bed wetting *reasons*, and even not care about being adopted (even with some of the stupid assed questions I have gotten), why CAN’T I own the fact that yeah, I suffer depression. Not debilitating, but enough it interferes with how I take care of my house and family, and myself.
Then I got to thinking, what would happen if I made this post, I know of at least 2 people “on the web” who would hold that against me, maybe call me weak, or stupid, maybe even tell me it’s all in my head (duh!). I almost didn’t write this because of that. But you know what? Who the fuck cares about what others think? MAYBE, just maybe one day people who label mental health the stigma will get it?
Mental health problems are not a weakness any more than my COPD or thyroid problems are. Am I physically weaker because of them? Sure, but I am NOT a weaker person in general. I did not ASK to be depressed, any more than you asked for that head cold, or flu. If you have pneumonia, are you a weak person? Should I tell you to just SUCK it up and get on with your job, house work, life? Or should you get medicine, rest, and help?
I really think it is time that people stop labelling mental health issues as “mental health issues” They are health period, full stop. HEALTH issues, they just HAPPEN to be on the mind. OR, the opposite, let’s start labelling everything! “Oh, you have “Lung health issues” ? What about “Eyesight health issues” Or “Metabolism health issues”.
Sad thing, I see people who are overweight (for health reasons, like myself) who get upset when they are told to “Just lose weight” as if they aren’t trying. How is THAT different? Of all the people who should understand “suck it up” is not acceptable, you’d think it would be others who have been in a situation like that?
Yes, I have depression, most days I am good, but sometimes I am not. Wanna make something of it?