Despite publishing a hundred books at the age of 19, I have been struggling with depression and Asperger’s Syndrome for a very long time. It wasn’t until last year that I decided to speak up about my struggles with mental health. Prior to that, I talked about my issues with mental health in many of the books that I’ve written over the years, but I never addressed it publicly.
Thankfully, I found many resources that got me going. I got on Google and started doing the research on ways I could be able to share my story, and many things came up. I reached out to lots of people and did lots of writing, of course. Once my story started getting out there, I felt a weight being lifted from my subconscious. It felt so great to talk about my struggles so openly. I got so many positive comments. I got so much support from fans and loved ones, commending me for my courage to talk about something not too many people are willing to discuss so openly.
I feel like people who have, or have had, gripes with mental health problems are reluctant to tell others for many reasons. Everyone has their own different opinions on this topic. I wanted to tell you what held me back. Initially, I was afraid of being judged. Because of the things that I struggled with, I faced a lot of stigma from people that I knew. I was called very derogatory names pertaining to my mental health struggles. I never liked that. I was picked on in school because of it. Somehow, the struggles that I never asked for were always being used against me. It was to a point where I was embarrassed to even show my face in public because I was afraid of being judged.
Plus, society has placed this stigma on people who struggle with these conditions, labelling them “ill” or “retarded,” or something demeaning like that. Therefore, if you make someone who’s going through mental health problems to feel that way, it’ll only add to the struggles that they’re already dealing with. Would you tell someone who bashes you all the time your deepest, darkest struggles?
Another thing that held me back was the pain itself. Depression is not just some fad. It is a real thing that people go through. People have lost their lives to this affliction. It would be some days that my depression got so bad I didn’t want to do anything. I couldn’t pursue my hobbies. I didn’t even have enough motivation to get out of the bed in the morning. I had to force myself up. I felt like nobody could understand what I was going through, so I would just keep it all to myself. The more I did this though, the more the problems began to eat away at me. You could only take so much before you lose it. Everyone has their breaking point.
Also, in a sense, I did feel a bit too proud to talk about it. That sounds odd but let me explain. Since everyone else around me started to shrug off my struggles, by telling me that I have “no real problems” and I’m “too young to stress,” I started to do this too. On some days, it fazed me. Most days, I tried to act like it didn’t, but it was fazing me all along.
I wanted to put on this front, so people could quit teasing me by calling me “retarded” and “stupid”. Of course, this did more harm than good. However, I just got tired of pushing my problems to the side. I decided to embrace it by talking about it. I never would have thought that my struggles would be able to inspire someone else. I always saw my struggles with mental health as insignificant, not worthy of sharing with others. People around me made me feel that way about my mental health issues and who I was as a person. I’m now on the path to correct this level of thinking. I want to end this by saying…
If you, or anyone else that you know struggles with any kind of mental health problems, it’s okay to get help. Whenever people ask us how we’re doing, we’re quick to say “fine.” It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re fine at all. All it takes is that second question to open up the door toward the process of understanding.
For the month of October, please ask twice if someone you know tells you that they’re “fine.”. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to feel. The first step to healing is acknowledgement.