Do you know what’s difficult? Going to a networking event and having to explain what you’re passionate about. Especially when your passion is along the lines of societal change. If you’re passionate about the racial controversies plaguing our day to day, you’re accused of being racist, supporting a racial divide (that some people are too stupid enough to see already exists), and your words become quickly twisted into statements of prejudice and hatred. Or if you share my passion, mental health awareness and radical self-love, you’re automatically a kook.
I wasn’t a kook.
When I explained to another fellow twenty-something year old that I am running an organization that promotes self-love and mental-health awareness, she flat out replied, “Oh like those magazine articles that tell people to meditate and do yoga and eat healthy.”
Nope, I wasn’t a kook. I was a fad.
A blank stare is all I could give her. I wanted to reply, “Yes, just like those, you ignorant turd,” but it’s 2016, and I have a business to run, and Aunty Oprah would never answer that way. But she did bring up a point I’ve been trying to ignore for the past year.
In the year 2015, community websites, and bandwagon bloggers, and money hungry “coaches”, decided to turn self-care and self-love into a fad for the sake of viewership and “do-it-for-the-internet” care.
Yes. I said it. And though it has increased awareness, and encouraged more conversations around the forgotten art of putting oneself first, people still don’t want to dive deeper into the root cause: Mental Illness. Nobody wants to touch that word. It stains. It causes controversy. It’s a rough spot. But it’s exactly where we need to go. Like yesterday.
I responded to her statement, “That’s just the surface, I’m going a little deeper. How to deal with depression, how to get america to deal with depression, and so on.”
And a blank stare is all she could give me. Clearly our conversation was over. Just as quickly as this self-care and self-love fad will be. Because these churned out quick lists of “Self-Care” won’t tell you that more than 800,000 people commit suicide every year and that twice as many attempt it. They won’t explain to you that depression and anxiety are the most common mental illnesses, and only a third of the 40 plus million people that have been diagnosed get treated. They also won’t explain to you that most cases are formed in the adolescent years, and sometimes could have been prevented. And they certainly won’t touch upon that there is a large number of little girls who have determined by the tender age of 9 that they are not pretty. I’m choosing to go beneath the surface of these tabooed issues because, there are twice as many women being diagnosed than men, and lord knows how many that are silently suffering due to a lack of mental health education and due to embarrassment and shame.
What Certified 10 is doing, and what many other organizations are doing are tackling the problems beneath the easy checklists. We’re coming for the stigma. Don’t lump us into a category of businesses and people who don’t believe in the words and actions they’re putting forth, and are barely scraping the surface. Mental Health Awareness, building a young woman’s unbreakable belief system, reprogramming the way a society thinks? That is not a fad.
This is about opening the world to a conversation that is desperately needed. It’s about raising awareness and getting our family members and friends the help they need, whether it be therapy, medication, or simply a listening ear. It’s about those silently suffering because of their fear of the word “crazy” and what that label does to one’s career, love-life… life in general. It’s about creating a community where “me too” is proudly announced, and “I feel alone” is diminished. It’s about less judging and more understanding, and realizing that there are many us that stand in the midst of you who have at some point not wanted to live another day. It’s about options. Options outside of taking ones life and options outside of ignoring the problem.
It is more than just some short-lived craze. Much more.
So please, for the love of God, do not confuse my fire, my passion, and my purpose for an only here for the moment fad. Please and thank you.
This post is part of the Twenties Unscripted “Write Your Ass Off April”
10 day writing challenge. Word of the day: IGNITE.
– Day 1: Surrender
– Day 2: Confess (Sent out in the Extra Dose newsletter
– Day 3: Heal