I’ll tell you a secret: My real name is not Bruce Wayne.
I’m not a billionaire who lives in a mansion and dates supermodels, whose picture and name is on the cover of magazines and newspapers. I’m just a regular guy. I eat, sleep, walk, talk, laugh, cry, space out during class, etc. If you saw me walking on the street, you wouldn’t think that there was any significant difference between us. You wouldn’t realize the daily inner battle I go through every single day with my mental illness.
You wouldn’t realize how much my mental illness has impacted, crippled, and handcuffed my life for the past few months. You wouldn’t realize what is truly going on within my mind. Yet I can’t blame you for that. How can I expect you to read my mind? What does concern me, though, is what your reaction would be if I told you that I had a mental illness.
Would you be compassionate? Sensitive? Understanding? Would you offer your assistance in anyway possible? Would you give me support and encouragement?
Or would you look at me in a negative light? Would you stay away from me as if I were a freak or a monster? Would you disregard all of my great qualities just because of my disorder?
I’ll be honest with you. Before I developed my mental illness, I didn’t care about this issue at all.
I didn’t know anything about it or how much it impacts so many people’s lives.
One of the scariest things one can do is search different forums online where people share their stories. There are so many people who talk about how their mental illness has completely turned their life upside down and how they have no hopes of recovery. I had absolutely no idea that this is such a huge issue.
While the illness itself is a problem, the bigger problem is the unbelievably negative stigma surrounding this issue.
Society sees mental illness as something insignificant, unacceptable, different, weird. We don’t always understand that it’s not a matter of people overreacting to life’s challenges or acting as “babies.” That it’s a legitimate and significant problem.
If the public opinion on mental illness wasn’t so distorted, the burden on the people who have it would be so much less.
Many people don’t seek treatment because they are embarrassed to admit that there is something wrong with them. Instead, they may choose to either live miserably with their problems or to escape them via drugs, alcohol, or- Chas V’Shalom- suicide.
By helping getting rid of the ridiculous stigma surrounding mental health, you can literally save people’s lives.
At the very least, it is indirectly helping them in ways you can’t imagine.
If you had the opportunity to help in even the smallest way to save someone’s life, wouldn’t you take it?
You want to know why I chose the pseudonym of Bruce Wayne? It’s for a couple of reasons.
One, just like Bruce Wayne, I’m living my life with a huge secret hanging over my head. He doesn’t want people to know that he is Batman, and I don’t want people to know that I have social anxiety disorder. I wear a mask. I believe that if my “true identity” would be revealed, my life would be negatively impacted and that people wouldn’t look at me the same.
Of course I have my Alfreds and Robins; people who I feel safe and comfortable talking about my problem. But to the rest of the world, my secret remains hidden.
Additionally, just like Bruce Wayne, I have the goal of helping people who are need. The reason Bruce Wayne became Batman was because his parents were killed and he wanted to prevent anything like that from happening. Similarly, I experienced a mental illness and all of the difficulties that accompany it, and that is my motivating factor for sharing my thoughts and experiences in order to try to help those who are also struggling.
I know that I’m not an unbelievable writer or an extremely knowledgeable psychologist. I’m just a regular guy who is trying to share his thoughts and feelings in order help make people’s lives a little bit better.
I am very confident that some of the people reading this actually know me, including some of my good friends who will have no idea that I am the writer.
I plan on posting every once in a while about how mental illness affects people like myself and what we can do to help them.
If you want to come with me on this journey to a brighter future, you’re more than welcome. We’re trying to make a difference, and we can’t do it alone. I can’t stress enough how much one person can make a positive impact when it comes to mental health education and perception. You have an unbelievable opportunity here. I really hope you take it.
Written by “Bruce Wayne”.