Insane. Crazy. Mad. Unhealthy. Abnormal. These words follow me around everyday, everywhere. They’re carved into my skin, sewed into my clothes, combed into my hair. They penetrate the bubble that separates me from a harsh society.

When we first learn to walk, our parents tell us that we’re bound to fall. So, when we experience trauma, why does society reprimand us for breaking down? How are the circumstances any different?

Though the experiences I’ve faced have been difficult to process, the trauma from being reprimanded by society has taken a lasting toll on my mental health. Putting on a mask to hide the tears, posting smiling faces on social media to ensure my “audience” that I am “thriving”.

I’m not thriving. I’m feeling drained. I’m feeling paranoid, confused, neglected. I’m feeling unsafe, misunderstood, unheard. So instead of scolding me for falling down, what if society smiled because I tried? Instead of keeping me down, what if society encouraged me to try again?

I applaud your effort. I accept your fall. I encourage you to try again. I will applaud your effort. I will accept your fall. I will encourage you to try again.

And I can only hope that you will do the same for me and together, we can smile for the people who try, and encourage those who feel like giving up because they feel insane, crazy, mad, unhealthy, abnormal.

We are none of the above. We are human and society doesn’t get to define our normalcy any longer.

In alignment with our mission to encourage others to #SpeakUp about mental health, we’ve created this blog – a passion project highlighting those who wish to share their stories with the world.

Open to anyone, the series features personal anecdotes from members of the South Asian community who have struggled with mental illness – and the stigma that comes along with it.

To submit your story, click here.

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