Oct. 11, 2016, 8:43 p.m.
Too many people suffering from mental illness feel alone, embarrassed, and guilty because of the stigma attached to it. In honour of World Mental Health Day, I’m sharing my story to remind all those suffering that it’s okay not to be okay.
From the outside looking in, I’m doing well – I’m an aspiring psychiatrist, I have a wonderful family, and a solid group of friends. But as amazing as everything may be for me, mental illness still took over and I’m really not okay.
According to the many psychiatrists and mental health professionals I’ve seen, I suffer from clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and anorexia.
Just because my illnesses aren’t physical, doesn’t make them less valid.
Every day is a struggle. Some days I win. Most days I lose. But my mental illnesses are always there no matter what.
Every day I take prescribed antidepressant and antipsychotic medications to survive.
Every day I feel misunderstood and alone.
But every day, I get stronger.
My mental illnesses don’t define me – I define me.
Recently, I decided to take a break from everything and focus on my mental health and recovery. Self-care is so important and certainly not selfish; always put your well being first.
Since opening up about my struggles, I have received more support than I could have ever imagined, and I am so, so thankful. Thank you to my incredible family and friends for always being there for me. To Fuel Training Club for helping me love and accept my body, for always reaching out, and helping me become physically and mentally stronger. To the mental health professionals who dedicate their lives to helping me and all those suffering.
My struggle with mental illness has shown me that I am a fighter. And so are you. Trust me, you are so much stronger than your mental illness. Remember: breakdowns eventually pave the way for breakthroughs.
It’s okay to talk about mental illness, so let’s keep the conversation of mental illness going. Together, we can crush the stigma!
Delia Xenophontos is an aspiring psychiatrist who dedicates everything she does to mental health awareness and helping others. She is a seasoned volunteer, currently volunteering for the National Eating Disorder Information Centre and the Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders.