May is arguably one of the most beautiful months of the year. As I write this, the sun beats on the back porch and a distant perfume of neighbors’ roses can be smelled upon the humid air. Life may appear flawless, but it still isn’t. The sunshine and flowers can disguise it, but the insidious darkness of mental illness still remains to be felt in-between bouts of laughter and play. I think it’s both ironic and smart that May should be Mental Health Awareness Month, as though it’s appropriately timed to remind us to check up on ourselves and those around us, at this time when smiles are all the more abundant.
It was only a matter of weeks ago that I wrote this small piece that captured how I was feeling that day. By no means is this the darkest nor the most powerful thing I’ve ever written, but I feel it dictates every-day depression fairly well. I want to share it because, well, I think there’s no better way to promote mental health awareness than by sharing our own personal experiences, so those suffering won’t feel so alone.
And you are NOT alone. More people suffer than any of us realize. And I’m so glad people are beginning to talk about it more, so that it might not be so stigmatized. We are not weak, we are not ruined, we are ill, and illness can be helped.
Another day will come and we will feel right again. Yesterday I may not have felt good, but today I do. And tomorrow? I’m excited to know how I’ll feel tomorrow. I’m hopeful. I’m excited to be here, and I love every single one of you.
I beg you all, if you need help, know there are many hands reaching out for you. Mine included. Even if you want to simply send me an email, I will respond as promptly as I see it. And there are a number of hotlines I’ve attached at the bottom of the page for you.
Also, remember to check on your friends and family. Even the ones you might not think are suffering, because sometimes those are the people who hurt the most.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text “home” to 741741
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)