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  • Megan Rose

I'm Not a Princess, This Ain't a Fairytale

If you have depression or have had suicidal thoughts, you know how difficult it can be to admit that to your loved ones.


Meghan Markle spent two hours on TV earlier in the week discussing her mental health and her suicide ideation. She is a true hero to the mental health community.


If you've been living under a rock for the past few years, Meghan Markle was a famous television actress who fell in love with one of the world's most eligible bachelors, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. The two became engaged, and mere days into their engagement the confidence this strong, beautiful, talented woman had built up over the years began to crumble and her mental health slowly started to deteriorate as she dealt with unprecedented media attention and vilification.


The words, "I did not want to live anymore," were spoken by a famous actress-turned-princess on national television in front of one of the world's most iconic journalists of all time.


I would like to reiterate - a FAMOUS ACTRESS TURNED ACTUAL REAL-LIFE PRINCESS admitted to the world that she was depressed, had suicidal thoughts, had nowhere to turn, and had to give up the life she and her husband had built together just to take care of her mental health.


If that isn't validating, I don't know what is.


This past week we celebrated International Women's Day, and what better way for us to learn about the struggles of being a woman than hearing Meghan Markle talk about how she was not taken seriously when she brought up her mental health to nearly everyone around her, including people who were being paid to protect her.


Women are often not taken seriously by doctors and are sent home without treatment, because doctors simply don't take them by their word. Women of color are treated even worse and when it comes to a mental illness, there is no clear physical proof or identifier of the disorder, so it's easy to be dismissed as attention-seeking behavior.


The royal family and the institution would not help Meghan when she confided in them that she was having depression and suicidal thoughts because the palace staff believed it would make the palace look bad. This is proof of the stigma, this is proof of the shame, this is proof that people don't admit to having these problems for a reason. They are perceived as being attention-seekers. They are perceived as being difficult. They are perceived as being ignorant.


But this is also proof of the very thing people try to deny: mental illness is real and can happen to anyone.


There are people who are making comments about the interview, saying Meghan's spoiled and just wants attention. There are people who think she's making this all up. There are people who think she should just be grateful to be who she is, and these people are extremely fortunate because they clearly don't understand what it feels like to have depression.


If you're one of those people, think about a family member who might be afraid to tell you how they really feel because of your attitude. Think of all the people who die by suicide without anyone even knowing they were depressed, or who were denied validation and help because the person they confided in didn't believe depression was a real medical issue. Your ignorance and lack of understanding can actually be deadly.


There are too many people in this world that go through life depressed and alone because people refuse to educate themselves about the science behind mental illness. Sometimes knowledge scares people, because if they understand that a mental illness is just that - an illness - that means it is a real thing that can afflict even them without any warning.


I get angry at these people but I also feel sorry for them, because they are so clearly scared of something they refuse to understand.


Meghan Markle has shined a light on mental illness and suicide and some people want it to stay in the dark. Let's not keep it hidden away. Be proud that you are surviving your mental illness, reach out for help, and if no one will help you do what Meghan did and shut out those people who are making things worse and find ones that can support you.


You are just as important as Meghan Markle, the celebrity who became a princess, even if you don't think you are. Your mental health and physical wellbeing are important, if not to you, to somebody else in the world. You deserve to be treated like a human being who is suffering from an illness and needs support, not like an attention-seeking hypochondriac who doesn't understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.


I've gone through enough to know that when someone suggests that you change your diet or exercise more or take vitamins instead of following a conventional treatment plan, they have no clue what they're talking about and they want to put the focus back on them and what they're doing right in their lives. These people are narcissists and although they may care about you, they care more about proving their point than helping you feel better. They will not be there for you unless they choose to educate themselves. If you are with someone who refuses to learn about your illness or listen to your feelings or hug you when you are picturing something horrific happening to yourself, they are not capable of understanding that mental illness is biological and that you need medical intervention. Find someone who does understand or who at least is open to educating themselves.


Do not be afraid to reach out to others who can help you or who might understand. There are groups on Facebook that are full of people dealing with the same issues who support each other, there are support groups that meet virtually and (hopefully sometime in the near future) in-person. Below is a list of resources to use when you feel like no one is listening to you. Please use them.


Meghan Markle wasn't able to get help and she was an actual real-life princess. Your status doesn't matter. You are important and deserve help, and there are some people who just refuse to believe or validate you. Get away from those people. Find support elsewhere and seek medical attention. If you're suicidal reach out to a hotline or go to the ER even if there are people who think you are being dramatic. You're not. You're sick. There are people who care.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

https://www.dbsalliance.org


For referrals to treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)


For emotional support for and from teens, you can call Teen Line at:

(800) TLC-TEEN


Or text TEEN to:

839863 between 6pm and 9pm PST.


If you're feeling suicidal reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at:

800-273-8255

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