I am finally back at home from my gallivanting about the state for the past week. Significant Other's meeting with my parents went smashingly. I also made my way into the Columbus area to visit some family and friends in the area, including JT Eberhard. He's been involved with Skepticon and currently is the High School organizer for the Secular Student Alliance, and is an all around lovely person.
However, JT has has recently been struggling with Mental Illness, and as an attempt to come to terms with his illness, as well as raise aware for mental health issues, he has been blogging about his struggles with trying to live with atypical way in which his mind functions. JT and I spoke extensively about mental illness in general as well as our own struggles.
I have been living with chronic depression for most of my life, having been diagnosed at the age of 10. Mental Illness runs on both sides of my family, in addition to handling my own illness. It took a long time for both myself and my family to come to terms with my depression and learn how to handle it appropriately. JT is very brave in making his battle public, and I admire him greatly for his passion to raise awareness.
Mental Illness is something that is still a very taboo topic. People don't talk about when someone is sick. Those that are legitimately ill are often handled as though they are attention seekers, even though more often than not, they do everything in their power to hide the fact they are ill and resist seeking treatment. This combination of willful ignorance and deliberate masquerading has the potential to end with the person who is ill not receiving the help they need, until something drastic happens, or it is too late. What's worse, this happens more often than we like to admit.
Please, if you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, seek help. Talk to someone. If it is you that is ill, tell someone. Even if they initially brush you off, insist, tell them, get it out. Keeping it locked away from the world does not make it go away and will not get you the help you need.
There are mental health hotlines in most areas and services in most cities. Get help. Raise awareness. Do not suffer in silence.