Mental illness does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, social class or intellect.
It attacks anyone it pleases and can completely take over someone's life.
To fully understand the magnitude and severity of living with mental illness, you have to go through it yourself.
For most of us, our first thoughts after waking up are, "Maybe I can sleep in for a few minuets," or "What do I have to do today?"
With mental illness, your first thought can be, "Do I want to live today? Do I have the strength to get out of bed and pretend everything is OK?"
It's like an almost immovable amount of weight is on your shoulders that leaves you feeling stuck and hopeless.
Though it is far from easy, it is possible to conquer the issues that stem from mental illness and live your life how you envision.
Here are three ways you can approach your battle with mental illness:
As a man, I know asking for help was the last thing on my mind.
Men are told to figure it out themselves, "to suck it up" or "to push through it." There is never time to talk, only time to fix it ourselves.
By practicing humility and seeking help, we can save ourselves and become stronger than we were before by accepting we cannot do it all on our own.
Humility is a trait of the strong, a trait that enables growth and success.
Another praised quality is being self-made. Not all great things come from one person. A strong support system will breed a strong person.
Living with mental illness, you may sometimes feel like a "burden" to your friends and family. You might think you're going to annoy people by constantly telling them about the problems that plague you.
Having that support and nonjudgmental energy around can — and will — allow you to get treatment for your mental illness.
After my last trip to a treatment facility, the support I had was overwhelming. I felt so blessed.
Support is anyone who believes in you and holds you accountable. It doesn't have to be family.
3. Be truthful.
Not every day will be a terrible day, and not every day will be a good day. Instead of bottling up the demons, let them out.
Speak up, write, yell and get them out. Staying quiet will only harm your mental health in the long run.
Being truthful is never easy, but it is important to do.
After all I have been through — in and out of treatment facilities, therapy and hospitals — I have found that humility, support and the truth will set you free.
I am not in anyway cured, but I can better handle life with the demons I have to face every day.
I am not perfect, either. I make mistakes, I slip up and I fall back into old, destructive habits.
But having a strong support system and really working though my treatment reminded me I can do anything I set my mind to, not matter how long it may take.