Stigma Fighters : Meghan Carvalho

This short story is about not being a prisoner to mental illness. I myself suffer from mental illness (bipolar depression) and it has been a year and a half since I attempted to take my own life. Every day is a struggle and our illness should not hold us back from living the lives we deserve to live.

“Clank! Clank!” I awoke to a terrible rattling noise only to find myself chained and in a dark, damp prison cell. The chains were terribly heavy and each metal link weighed me down restricting my movement. Because of that, every move had to be carefully crafted, overanalyzed and almost mechanical just to avoid the discomfort of being human. The massive chains left scars where the metal touched flesh. I must’ve been here a while because the blood had dried and I was numb to the pain. My clothes were gone and the prison jump suit had conformed to my skin.

As I looked around, all I could see was a bed and a food tray that must have just been delivered. There was no mirror, but what did it matter what I looked like. I was a prisoner now, my distinguishing features no longer mattered. There was a small window in the corner of the room. From it I could see that there were other prisoners; I wasn’t alone. We were all bound and confined; criminals set apart from the outside world.

I laid on the bed and closed my eyes. I did not sleep. I did not dream. This was my reality. There was no escape. So I picked up the apple on the tray of food and took a bite.

*****

My name is Meghan Carvalho and I suffer from mental illness.

I have been lived the last 7 years of my life with bipolar depression but it wasn’t until I attempted to take my own like a year and a half ago that I decided to take my treatment seriously. For the rest of my life, I will have this disease, but I have learned that with smart management it is not the end of the world. It is not easy, but we are strong.

Yes I suffer from bipolar depression, but that doesn’t mean I have two heads or that I breathe fire. I am an active 22 year old who works in politics. I love to dance, go to the beach (especially for a night swim), read, golf, and enjoy a sunny afternoon baseball game.

Thank you for listening!

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