Ending the Stigma

Twenty-two year old Dorothy will be turning twenty-three later this year. She has endured more than she could ever imagine by this age. She didn’t think that the things that happened to her could ever happen to her. Little did she know during the time it was happening, it would help build her to become a greater person in the future. Dorothy believed she was little in this big world. She had wide eyes, ready to take on the world until someone came in to rattle and try to break it. Little by little, she has started to repair her life and pick up the pieces that had broken off when it shouldn’t have.

    Abuse has a funny way of working in this world. It is used to frighten, threaten, and change a person. It hurts with a long lasting fear that it’d ever happen again. Dorothy never thought that the hand she was dealt was what was known as emotional and verbal abuse. She didn’t realize or understand until after she had left the relationship and analyzed every nitty gritty part. Many times, victims of abuse tend to go back to what they have known and gotten used to but there are also many others who would rather take part in taking a stand against abuse. Going through what she did, depression and anxiety had hit her hard. She had more fears and didn’t want to go out anymore. She was too afraid it’d happen again. She had been fighting her depression and anxiety from it along with many other reasons. Also, she has been trying to find light in the world. Distracted by school and good times with friends, she’s started to find herself again. She has realized that she isn’t just what a boy may say she is or what a person’s actions had molded her to be in that relationship. She was more than that and could do more with herself.

    Asked to write about the past month but this has been going on for much longer than a month, it’s been years. In the past few years, she’s  transferred schools, realized her passion for teaching children so she could mold their minds to do one of the many great professions that are out there. She’s gotten closer to her friends and made many new ones along the way. Explored many places around the world and have expanded her horizons in life. Dorothy had also found a little place called Dream On Youth. She didn’t know that she would have found a place like this unless it was for a girl that she had met on Tumblr named Maire. This strong minded woman, Maire, had joined DOY and started to tweet about it and the empowerment that they were spreading. Little did Dorothy know that DOY was a place for her. A group of women who continue to stand their tallest while trying to figure out their own lives just so others could find some kind of positivity in their life. She knew that they were going places. If it weren’t for Dream On Youth, she wouldn’t have fully found herself again. She needed that push to find herself outside of friends, family, and trying to find her passions. To this day, she continues to get that push from a great boss lady, Cydney, and the rest of the team.

    DOY has joined many movements, created a few of their own, and have many individuals trying to push to end stigmas. One of the few stigmas is mental health. Often times, mental health conditions are not spoken about because people may feel ashamed for something that isn’t in their control. A few ways we can bring light and fight to end the mental health stigma, we can, of course, talk openly about mental health. But before talking openly about it, we need to educate ourselves and others about mental health. There are many times we talk about the many stereotypes of mental health but have not fully educate ourselves about it. Another is to be conscious of language, can never be too careful. Also, encourage equality in how people are perceived as well as showing compassion and empathy for those who do live with a mental health illness. These are only just a few ways of helping end the stigma. You can find out more here.

    And to those who do live with mental illnesses, you are a wonderful human being. Do not think little of yourself because you are capable of doing anything you put your mind to. I don’t know who you are but I’m positive that you are bigger and better than your mental illness. Please take care of yourself and put your mental and physical health before everything else. Love yourself. Do what makes you happy. You will always be loved even when you don’t think so. Stay beautiful and incredible.


Photo credit: Rob Bye