I’m Dana. I’m a film geek, a university student, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a proud Community Champion.
I began experiencing severe anxiety when I started my first year of university. I was lost. I had just started at a new, overwhelmingly big school, where I didn’t know anyone, and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I felt sick every time I had to leave the house, I hated going to school, my grades dropped, and I just could not adjust. I blamed it on going to school in my hometown, so I didn’t get the “full university experience” and could not make friends because I did not live on campus. I was only ever on campus for class, and left to go home as soon as I could. Many days I would find myself skipping class because I just couldn’t motivate myself to go.
My friends and family told me that I should go talk to someone. But I was scared, and did not want people to think I was “crazy” or “over-dramatic”. And for some reason, choosing to not see a professional somehow made people think my problems were not legitimate.
The mental health landscape must be changed. We need to end the stigma around mental illness. This is not limited to “diagnosed” mental illness. We must also end the stigma against un-diagnosed mental illnesses. No one else can feel what is going on inside you better than you can. If you feel that there is something wrong, then you are right. A professional can help you if you wish to use them, but they do not legitimize your struggles. Your struggles are real no matter what anyone else says.
I am proud to be working with the Wear Your Label team on ending the stigma towards mental illness. Getting involved with active groups in my areas of interest is what helped me with my anxiety. I’m glad I have found a company that will allow me to help others while at the same time helping my own mental health. Looking forward to all the great things to come!
- Dana, @danacarleton