I support a number of causes to help combat the stigma that blankets mental health currently. My goal is to try and help others change their mind and belief about those of us who suffer from mental illness. But this morning it occurred to me that while trying so hard to support the solution, I am an even bigger part of the problem. How so?
I have allowed my own internal stigma to cause me to not be accepting of myself and my struggles. I beat up on myself for giving in to my pain some days. I am angry with myself on those days when I can’t easily bounce back. I feel disappointment when I let my fears prevent me from taking chances. I have not been very accepting of me so how can I expect acceptance others. Today, it stops.
The mental health community is in dire need of the same level of respect and attention given to physical health. Many of us don’t hesitate to share woes of physical illness with friends, family, co-workers and even employers. However, when faced with mental illness, many of us shut ourselves up in a closet of shame. We turn the lights off on ourselves because we don’t accept ourselves and our illness. Well I am turning the light on myself today. My name is Erneshia Pinder. I suffer from anxiety and depression and I am a wife, I am a mother, I am a friend, I am a colleague, I am family and most of all…I am HUMAN!