Chances are, you are close, know someone—or even love
someone who has a mental illness; millions of people are affected by it. But
there is a stigma that surround mental illness. Often times, people who come forward,
revealing that they have it, may be shamed for it. Laurie Finkelstein, author
of Next Therapist Please, is fighting the judgment towards mental
illness one page at time. Here are five truth bombs featured in the
1. You Can Have Depression and Still
Have a Vibrant Personality
In the beginning of Next Therapist Please, we learn
about the face of depression. There is a misconception that people who have
this disorder will appear to show a look of sadness. When Janie attends the art
exhibit, she appears calm and pleasant. She uses sarcasm and sense of humor to
override her depression.
2. With Mental Illness, there
is No Such Thing as a Small Fight
Janis experiences social anxiety when her agent,
unexpectedly introduces her to a couple who are interested in learning more
about her artwork. Just moments before, she was doing fine, despite her
depression—standing alongside other artists. In an instant, her social anxiety
was triggered because of fear of
having to converse, talking to possible collectors, and telling them about her work.
People living with a mental illness don’t have the luxury of
turning it off. Sometimes it comes in waves.
And as you see in this story, Janie fights her social anxiety, by
continuing to remain in the guests’ presence, even though she still feels
awkward and uncomfortable.
3. People with Mental Illness Can
Have a Love for Hope, Adventure and Life
In Chapter 3, Janie shows a contentment with life. While
staying at hotel, she gives us and insight of how she feels. It reads:
“The best feature of
the room is the private indoor/outdoor shower. I adore showering outdoors. A
sense of freedom and danger prevail. I would enjoy the atmosphere more by
sharing with a partner, but for now, I’ll revel in the idea of being a nature
girl, showering in the twisted jungle.”
Janie is hopeful, feeling adventurous, and experiencing
happiness within herself. She is perfectly fine with being single, and she
doesn’t view it as a bad thing or an inadequacy.
4. Having to Struggle with Daily Duties but
Finding Ways to Persevere
We get to see what life was like before tragedy struck. Janie
struggled to find balance: being a wife, panic attacks, and the ups and downs
of motherhood. She is transparent about her obstacles. Honest about her
difficulties. And it one of the reasons why Janie perseveres.
5. Ditching Life to Make Time for
One of my favorite parts of Next Therapist Please is when
Janie calls her good friend, Debbie. They take a day off from their lives and busy
schedules for self-care. They plan to go to the spa, eat lunch, relax and go shopping.
Self-care is important to everyone, but it is especially crucial for someone
with a mental illness. To them it is more than a break or a refresher, it’s
similar to a much needed rest.
To battle inwardly and possibly, on the outside—sometimes each
day, should not be viewed as a weakness, or associated with negativity. If it represents
anything, it show us that anyone living with any type of mental illness is an
overcomer and strong-willed.