Internal Memos is an illustrated weekly column about the inner-workings of our always-working minds.
Perhaps you know the feeling: you're standing somewhere in a seemingly standard situation, and all of a sudden you can feel your heart beating in your chest; your palms feel like you dipped them in a sink, and your jaw is tensed from clamping your molars down.
Or perhaps you don't.
Either way, mental health is something that has always been something of a taboo and — though, in recent years, the stigma has lessened slightly — it remains so to this day.
Like many people in this country and around the world, I used to feel embarrassed about my mental health problems. To me, they — my ADHD, anxiety, impulse control disorders, and depression — were shameful secrets meant to stay tucked away in the confines of my mind. No one cares, I used to tell myself, people are going to think you're weird.
Luckily, over the course of my lifetime, I have witnessed a major shift in mental health awareness and the ways it is discussed in society. But, while things are certainly better than they were a decade ago, the stigma is far from gone.
As such, this World Mental Health Day, I want to remind myself — and all of you — that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to shifting conversations about depression, personality disorders, anxiety, and mental health in general. And we need to continue being more empathetic to others; we often don't know what struggles they are facing.
Years ago, I didn't understand what my anxiety was and so I couldn't name it. But now, thanks to shifting conversations and attitudes, I am working to prioritize my mental health and be more compassionate and gentle with myself as I navigate this challenging world — I hope you will, too.
Illustrations by Ludmila Leiva © See more here.