Dear Mental Illness

In just a few days it will be May. Along with flowers and budding trees and the enrichment of the landscape, May is Mental Health Month; a time to reflect and act on what we know is necessary for everyone to enjoy positive health.

May is also when NAMI will kick-off its “Why Care?” effort to promote awareness of mental health needs among the one in five individuals affected and to demonstrate why it is that we should all care about mental health. We are stewards of the mental health of others; we can make such a difference if we care.

The WhyCare? campaign demonstrates the power of care to make a life-changing impact on those affected by mental health conditions. Through our own words and actions, we can shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from building better lives. The campaign reminds us that each person has the power to make a difference.

The month of May can also be used to share individual thoughts and words of people living with mental health conditions. We are pleased to be able to publish here a poem that illustrates the power of one person’s voice to tell her story and build awareness.

Dear Mental Illness

You were like a cold that wouldn't go away

I lived in fear of you everyday

I felt like my mind was slowly slipping away

You made me feel like I was lost and out of touch

Like I didn't know which way was up

You tried to control me everyday

I would isolate myself from family and friends

Living in fear and shame

Wondering if the pain would ever go away

And if I would ever be the same

You may have knocked me down

But I got up Standing Tall and Strong

Beating the odds and all

You don't Define me in anyway

I'm so proud of who I am today

I know I'm not in this Walk Alone

Thank you to all of the unsung heroes

Family and friends

And Advocates fighting the fight

until the very end

Dear Mental Illness

We Rise Up!

We Will Stay Strong!

And We Will Conquer You!

Once And For All!

- By Samantha Burton

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