Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Seeking Treatment

There is so much that is misunderstood when it comes to mental illness. I have interviewed friends, family members, co-workers and strangers about mental illnesses. Not surprising, many people agree that it is still hidden behind a dark veil; that it's something to be whispered about and talked about in private.

I was 17 when I had my first bout of depression. I would only come to realize what it was at the age of 30, right after the birth of my daughter when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. For 13 solid years I battled depression, anxiety, bulimia and obsessive compulsive disorder and was too ashamed and scared to to seek treatment. I truly thought "it" would go away. The thought of being hospitalized for depression scared me so much that I vowed not to say a thing. All I could think about was mind-numbing medication and straight jackets. This is what society would have you believe. The reality is something quite different. Seeking treatment can save your life. It did for me.

Mental illness is a serious medical condition - just like diabetes and heart disease. Why are we so afraid of it? Why are people still so judgemental? We are on a mission of a lifetime to banish the stigma once and for all through the "You know Who I Am" campaign. Are you on board?

Heather Hennigar