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  • H.M. Jackson

Therapy is DOPE!

Therapy is Dope. Seriously, it is. For a long time, I was ashamed of my battles with mental health. I was embarrassed about needing medication for my depression and anxiety, and ashamed about going to therapy. It was a topic I didn’t talk about, until earlier this year. I realized there is nothing to be ashamed about, and I should be proud of myself for going to therapy and working on what I need to because truth be told it is hard. I should be proud of myself for giving the little me a voice - finally all these years later. Then I realized, one of the reasons I felt shame is because of the stigma on mental health. The only way to improve it is to talk about it, be open about it, and share. That is how we end the stigma and normalize mental health.

The stigma has shifted some in the recent years, but I still feel it is nowhere near where it should be. I mean, think about it, if someone has a medical condition like a thyroid disorder, they take medicine that is prescribed. No one goes around holding shame or a stigma for that because the medication is used to treat the issue. Why is there a stigma with antidepressants? It is medication, prescribed by a doctor to treat a chemical imbalance of serotonin or dopamine production.

I am very open about my battles now, and very open about my suicide struggle. I talk about it if anyone asks questions, and often share my story which is something before - I never would have done. I have a large collection of therapy and mental health graphic tees, and even a couple dad hats. Last week, I was sitting at a local brewery up the street watching a baseball game. I was wearing my shirt that reads “Therapy is DOPE” and my dad hat that reads “End the Stigma.” An individual approached me to say how much she loved my shirt and my hat. She went on to explain she also struggles with mental health, and recently lost her mom to suicide. She told me she has always struggled with the stigma, and she loved that I was so open wearing what I was and making a statement that it’s okay. That’s it right there. That is the reason I am open, and wear it without shame, and instead with pride. Just impacting one person and making them feel more open is all I hope to do.

With that, be proud. I know it’s hard, and it is much easier to say at times then feeling it, but I can honestly say I don’t hold shame around it anymore. Therapy is Dope. Mental Health is health, and together we can end the stigma.

⎻ H.M. Jackson

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