When I told my Dad I was going to start a site based on Mental Health & Wellness, he asked me if I planned on talking about myself and my illness. My Dad and I don’t really talk about my illness, nor do many people in my family. We refer to it as… well… ‘it’. And then we just ignore that part of my life. I have learned how to compartmentalize as much as possible, from hiding medication from house guests (nothing goes in my cabinets) or learning every trick and tip to getting through one of my episodes. My Bipolar Type I disorder (there are different types) diagnosis is a daily part of my life, but I hid it from most of my world.
So why come out now? My life is great, I finished graduate school, I see a therapist, a psychiatrist, I am getting married, why not leave well enough alone?
Because my family still prefers not to acknowledge my illness or talk about it. And I am not the only one.
Because people still refer to a person as ‘Bipolar’ in a stigmatizing manner. And I am not the only person this happens to.
Because people still tell me, ‘but you don’t seem Bipolar?’ And I am not the only one who hears this.
Because I learned I was not the only one who has been told I didn’t pray hard enough for my illness to go away.
Because there are so many sites dedicating space and articles trying to figure out why Black/African-Americans do not seek mental health treatment.
But most importantly, there aren’t many sites dealing with these issues when it comes to culture. Nor do they speak from the perspective of someone looking for day to day answers, talking about treatment in the same way someone would talk about style or food or any other form of health. The sites are depressing or all about Carrie Fisher (nothing wrong with Carrie Fisher, but there are so many different people and different ways of treatment & no one is talking).
Down to Utopia is talking openly about all forms of mental health and ways you incorporate health and treatment in day to day life from my perspective. I want your perspective too, so don’t forget to submit your story. The site is still forming and developing so check out all of the pages and get a feel of what is to come. I am not going to be right about everything and you are definitely going to disagree with me, but it will at least start a discussion.
My Dad now supports this site and it has opened the door. I hope this site opens the door for you too.