Statistics show 1 in 4 people will struggle with a mental illness. Although mental illness has a stigma that needs a major paradigm shift, the importance of seeking help has never been greater. Many people feel alone in their suffering, as if nobody understands, or cares about the experiences and struggles they fight on a daily basis. I have personally been in the deep dark hole, unable to get out of bed, with the light fading, wondering how I will ever manage to climb out, or frankly, even want to. You are not alone, with 1 in 4 people struggling with mental illness, many of us are in the same boat together, giving the same smile on the outside to disguise the turmoil within. Mental illness does not discriminate, and some of the most successful people in the world, who have everything they can dream of, who seemingly have it all together, have it all figured out, fight the same inner chaos as the rest of us. Mental illness is not relegated to any certain socioeconomic status, or race, ethnicity, religion or gender, it’s ubiquitous
One of the greatest tools to fight and manage mental illnesses is changing our perspectives. It is possible to lead a successful, meaningful, fulfilling, connected and joyful life. Although many famous and successful people also deal with mental illness, their openness also demonstrates the heights anyone can achieve, and the fulfilling lives that can be led when help is sought. Additionally, its not just depression and anxiety that afflicts successful people, even individuals with highly stigmatized diagnoses such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder can contribute incredible value to the world. Everyone brings something special to this world and to someones life, even though at times we may not think so of ourselves. Individuals like Elyn Saks, who has lived with schizophrenia and has described her journey through struggling with her illness, is a law professor, author and alumni of some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country. Furthermore, Marsha Linehan, the founder of Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, which is used by countless therapists, was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia at an early age and lives with managing borderline personality disorder, and manages it to this day while living a meaningful life and helping so many others.
With mental illness being so prevalent, there’s millions of people sharing similar emotions. You are not alone, and no matter how hard, how embarrassing, how disturbing, or how life shattering your experiences and your struggles are, there’s help and there’s hope. Reach for help, we may be strong alone, but we are unstoppable together, success is a team sport. Although the tunnel may seem long and dark, you might just need someone that’s able to see the light at the end and help navigate through the obstacles.