by Luísa D’Araujo
In recent times, I have noticed that people have been more understanding with the subject of mental health; many people have been open about it, and I realize that we still have a long way to go to talk about the important things and the impact they have on us and society, especially on young people.
I think everyone is afraid of not knowing what they’re going through, and when we talk about health, everything seems like a mess; we feel afraid because we don’t know what’s going on, and we don’t know how to describe what we’re feeling. How can anyone realize what’s going on when we have no idea? I remember never having a lecture on mental health at school when I was going through bullying and having bouts of anxiety every day.
Nowadays, I see the importance of talking about mental health. Before I understood what I had, I never spoke to anyone because I was afraid they wouldn’t understand, and I didn’t know very well what I was going through. I felt like a toxic person, while in fact, I was going through a delicate moment like anyone else. I wasn’t a disease. I wasn’t something toxic to people. I was still myself in some way, but now there were reactions within me that I had to deal with and tend to.
I wasn’t afraid to start therapy anymore, so I started to understand the depth of how important it was for me to seek treatment and to be able to control my emotions and understand my crises because I wasn’t to blame for anything. I was going through those changes that I couldn’t control until I accepted them, and I think the scariest step is that we think mental hurdles, like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder make us less human when in fact, we make us more human, more sensitive to the world and the details of emotions and of life.
For seven years, I sealed this secret from the world and the people around me. I was afraid of them pulling away from me, but they embraced me and understood even when I didn’t. Today, seven years later, I talk openly about my problems and how hard it is. Every day is a different day, a different reaction. I never know when my crises came, confused in my own mind, lost in me.
During the month of May, we talk about mental health and point out its importance, but every month we have to say that we are not well and that not all days are good or happy. I haven’t found it yet, but there are days when I feel something close to happiness, and I’m grateful for that because there are good days, even if they are rare. Even with voices within us, I will never let them say that we are alone because we are all facing internal struggles. We are trying to climb and understand that this mountain has an end. There is a beautiful view waiting for us, and it is a journey of self-knowledge, of ups and downs, but we have learned that life is about it, try to evolve and improve because, in the end, we all already feel weak, helpless, incapable trying to live one day at a time.
Talk about mental health. We need information and shelter, and there are so many people who still don’t know they can be saved and can be loved. There are so many people needing to hear “I understand you,” need a sincere hug, need a comforting silence without the pressure that they will appear like stars in the middle of the night. They shine in this world because they remain extraordinary people, inside and out, and that doesn’t make you helpless. It’s not a disease. It’s the unknown. It’s the difficulties that we’re exposed to, but it’s never the end of the line, just a comma in our history; we keep trying. We must support one another because wherever you’re reading this, I understand you, and I hope that one day you can understand that everything is fine even when everything doesn’t seem to be and that we’re all trying. I’m trying to climb slowly, even on the bad days. I’m trying to hold the edges. We’re all going to get to the end of the line, and we’re going to feel extraordinary.