“Nothing is wrong with me” my mom would say; though, I knew she was suffering. I watched my mom battle undiagnosed multiple personality disorder and depression for years. I say undiagnosed because she never went to the doctor.. she was always fine.
Until one day she wasn’t.
On the evening of August 13, 2016, I lost my mother to a mental illness. To this day I have so many questions. Why didn’t she talk to me? Was she scared? What could I have done differently? The only answer I’ll ever get is that she was sick. My mother was in an unimaginable amount of pain; a pain that I never want anyone else to feel.
It all starts with campaigns such as EburgSpeaks.
Two weeks ago there was an announcement made in my class. Hearing this announcement sent chills down my back. Though 450 million people suffer from a diagnosed mental illness, society still considers it to be a taboo to talk about. It should not be considered taboo to talk about. While some mental illnesses can be effectively treated, at relatively low cost, the starting point towards recovery is talking. For Mental Health Awareness Week a campaign was launched called ‘Eburg Speaks’ to change the way we talk about mental health. Every day throughout the week there was an event held on campus that would help raise awareness for mental health throughout the community.
An event that I attended was all about what made you feel good. Students were able to come up to a board and write what they did to take care of themselves. The board was full of words like; ‘laughter’, ‘smiling’ and ‘friendships’. That had me walk away with a genuinely good feeling.
My mothers biggest demon was feeling alone. Though she was surrounded by family, friends, love, and support, my mother still felt alone. It was her depression that made her feel alone. I can’t help but think; what if my mom had been apart of a campaign like EburgSpeaks while in college? Would knowing that she wasn’t the only one feeling the way she did feel give her the encouragement to get the help she needed? If one person struggling with a mental illness saw this campaign going on around campus and it made them feel less “crazy”, it would all be worth it.
There is a huge generation gap between me and my mother. She comes from a generation that doesn’t allow talking about one’s feelings; whereas, my generation is an open book. Millennials have been taught to embrace everyone’s differences and whether they be your highest attributes or your deepest demons. Let’s use it to our advantage and keep the conversation of mental health going.