I was a six-year-old, no different from my classmates I thought. I cried when my ice cream fell to the ground, I couldn't sleep a week before my birthday and I always tried to stay awake until my eyes betrayed me.
The thing about mental health issues is this: you and others can't see them.
I remember when I was at my lowest point with anxiety. I remember thinking: “If I break my leg I can go to the doctor and he'll fix it. If I go to the doctor and tell him how I feel, they might never understand what the real problem is.”
Today I woke up and for a moment I lay still, staring at the ceiling. I lay there and felt my chest rise and fall as I breathed. It took all my will power to keep my focus on my breath, a mindfulness technique I have been taught. I did this for 30 seconds, maybe a minute, as my husband got up for the baby.
There is a secret; one that nobody is prepared to talk about; one so shocking it may bring down society as we know it. Am I talking about a scandal, or some sort of political corruption? Am I talking about some secret society that quietly rules over us, or perhaps I am talking about the fact we are all lizard people. While I would infinitely prefer to talk about any one of these things, I am in fact talking about the truth that, literally, nobody is talking about. I am talking about the fact that people with mental illness walk among us.