Mental illness is not automatically negative. My journey and my story is and always has been very positive. I may have had some awful experiences and awful times in my life, however I actually see my story as positive. I find sometimes people associate negativity with mental illness, and I think that is the first issue surrounding stigma.
There is a story I always tell everyone about looking at mental illness in a different way. I tell this story so everyone understands how our minds work around mental illness. We have been taught for so long that mental illness is something bad or negative. It is not. Mental illness can be very positive. It is all the way we think and look at it.
When my father, Sam, had an operation about 5 years ago, when the operation was complete, my mother, aunt, brother in law and myself sat in the room with the surgeon. A very intelligent and smart person, being a surgeon and all. So, he spoke a bit, then I began talking and I asked a few questions to the surgeon because I wanted my dad to recover well and make sure we did exactly what the doctor said. My mom then interrupted me, and I am completely okay with her saying this, as I am very open surrounding my illness, she said to the surgeon, “Oh Samantha has anxiety so that is why she is asking so many questions.” Pause here and try to think of what the surgeon said. The surgeon responded with, “We do not need negative people around Sam at this time.”
This response shocked me a little, and yet in some ways it did not. Out of the little respect I had left, I did not say anything to him. A surgeon, a smart, intelligent, educated surgeon associated negativity to anxiety. This is what we need to change with every single person. I am the most positive person you will ever meet, I am calm, I speak and communicate very well, I love life to the fullest, yet because I have anxiety and schizophrenia, I am automatically looked at as negative.
All I am asking in this post, is that we change our view of mental illness. Look at mental illness in a different way, do not assume because I have a mental illness, that my story is negative because my story is and always will be very, very positive.