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An Apology to People Living With Mental Illnesses

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Dear people living with a mental illness,

I would like to give a sincere apology. I was the one giving unsolicited comments on how you were feeling, and judging the way your thoughts run. 

I’m sorry for saying things that invalidated your emotions and thoughts.

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I am sorry for telling you righteous and religious comments like: “You lack faith,” “Why are you hurting yourself?” and, “Suicide is a sin.” I am sorry for being so righteous, you couldn’t open up to me. I am sorry for not trying to put myself in your shoes before I delivered those words and advice. I am sorry for the things I did but failed to mention.

Now, I know how you feel. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 and experienced bipolar depression for almost a year. 

I now know how it feels like when you want to harm yourself and end it abruptly. I know what it feels like when your thoughts are filled with voices that won’t let you sleep at night, and won’t let you have the motivation to wake up the next day. I know what it’s like to hear comments that make you not want to believe in God anymore, coming from the mouths of those religious people. The comments that make you want to puke on their faces to just stop. The moments when you wanted to live, yet your soul cries to die. The times when you question your faith. How people tried to cast out the “demons” in you. How suicide felt debilitating to hear, because it triggers you. How anxiety kicks in when you are with many people. The panic attacks that kick in whenever they want.

I felt it. I felt all your pain and agony.

In the end, I was able to get a glimpse into how you might experience things. I was able to see and feel how painful it is to live every day. I was able to feel how tormented you might be.

Because of this, I want to live my life de-stigmatizing mental illness in different communities, schools, churches, workplaces and families. I want to be the voice of those people who are scared to share what’s going on in their minds. I want to educate those who do not know what mental health and mental illnesses are. I may not ever be fully healed, but as long as I can, I will do my advocacy on mental health and mental illness.

For all those words I uttered to you, I’m sorry again. I hope you will forgive me.

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Originally published: April 19, 2019
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