""Why is there something wrong with my brain?"

It has been 7 weeks since I have been back on my medication. 7 weeks of wishing it wouldn't help me. 7 weeks of hoping that I was strong enough not to need them. 7 weeks of slowly feeling better. 7 weeks of realising that stigma still impacts my recovery; despite my own efforts in trying to change this perception.

At week 6 I had a follow up appointment with my psychiatrist and began the negotiation process of wanting to come off my medication because I felt fine now. I was feeling better again. Surely it was me who was helping myself out of the fog. Surely I hadn't wasted 9 months of being medication free only to prove my psychiatrist right. I finished this appointment with a heavy heart. Why is there something wrong with my brain? It was when I asked myself this question a light blub went off in my head.

Depression and anxiety are diseases of the brain. Something I have studied for many years and something my doctors have told me many times. I have learnt skills to manage it and I have the ability to sooth myself. So why do I need medication then? Well, sometimes even if a diabetic ate healthy, was extremely fit and really looked after themselves, their pancreas still isn't going to work properly without the aid of medication. Which brings me to the same old question, why do we look at it differently for mental illnesses? Simple answer is stigma. I don't like to use the word but unfortunately it is the only one that explains it.

I have had to battle this stigma and self-stigma for 10 years (when it comes to me being on medications). It feels surreal to be talking about it openly. It was something that would bring up huge amounts of shame. To be honest if I am having a low day it still does. I feel inadequate in some way. I hate that they do help me feel better. I wish I could do it all on my own. That is the thing though, I still am doing it on my own. If my inner ninja wasn't alive and well the medication wouldn't work for me. It is only an aid. It is still me who is pulling me up and out of the fog. Minus the days that my loved ones and closest friends all lend me a helping hand.  

My mission and the entire reason I started The Inner Ninja Foundation was to help people achieve mental wellness. From promoting awareness into active change. To dispel misconceptions that are attached to mental illness (diseases of the brain). Together with the amazing individuals that are in my life and creating changes all around the globe, we can make this happen. It might take us a while but it is definitely worth it!

Special and huge thank you to the people closest to me in my life.

Live, breathe, embrace;

Stef   

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Tenille Westerhout