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Perhaps one can’t blame the masses for not knowing what today is? Google does not create a doodle or calendar event. Facebook does not create special like buttons or emojis.

Today is the 10th of October. Today is World Mental Health Day!

Perhaps survivors have stayed quiet for too long? But do you blame us in a world that is quick to judge, but slow to understand. How many people know the difference between sadness and depression? How many take the time to understand that bipolar does not mean you are moody? Many fail to understand that it is not a personality defect, but an illness like any other. I suppose this lack of understanding and compassion results in people failing to see that half of all mental illnesses start at the age of 14, while three quarters by the age of 25.

Mental illness, like heart disease or diabetes, is a chronic illness that results in both physical and mental pain. When survivors ask for the day to be commemorated, they ask for understanding. Understanding that treatment, in all its various forms, is important in order to lead a normal and healthy life. When we speak of our pain, it is not sympathy we are after; we speak because we know many more of those suffering have lost their voices to a society that says their condition is not serious.

Today is World Mental Health Day. I am not going to describe how it is to live with bipolar disorder. I am not even going to try and make you understand the stigma that is attached to mental illness. All I ask if for you to respect this day, in the same way you respect World AIDS Day or World Cancer Day.

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Ros Limbo
mulemwa.limbo@gmail.com

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