Royalty works together to overcome the stigma of mental illness
The Lady and Prince have picked up where the Princess left off. Carrie Fischer, often recognized as the actress who played Princess Leia in Star Wars, had been perhaps one of the most fiercely dedicatied advocate for mental health issues. She died, at age 60, last year. It was felt by many that had benefited from her inspiring message. She was treating Bi Polar disorder, often referred to as manic depression. Drug addiction, manic episodes and hospitalization were just some of the personal experiences she had conveyed. Her intention was to let people know that others were going through the same thing. She gave inspiration to so many.
“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on,” Fisher told ABC News.
Lady Gaga and Prince William are following Fischer’s example. They are seen having a conversation that is a difficult subject to talk about. Admitting to everyone that they have been dealing with mental heath disorders must not be easy. Considering that these public figures are constantly scrutinized by the public eye, Gaga and William have come out and are offering support to those who are still struggling without any help. Some of these people are scared to ask for help for the fear of being judged. This could have fatal results as some will resort to hurting them selves before coming forward to a family member.
This morning there was a video released of them having a FaceTime chat discussing their personal experiences how mental illness has impacted their lives. This is part of the Heads Together #oktosay series, a campaign set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, encouraging those who suffer to open up about it. Many people have felt insecure about mentioning because they fear this problem labels them as “crazy.” The truth of the matter is there are so many people that go undiagnosed and never get the treatment that could dramatically improve the quality of their lives.
Two years ago, Lady Gaga nervously first spoke publicly about dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of being raped when she was 19. “For me, waking up every day and feeling sad and going on stage is something that is very hard to describe.” she said, “There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness, you feel like something’s wrong with you.” In December she posted an open letter that speaks frankly about her struggle.
“I also experience something called dissociation which means that my mind doesn’t want to relive the pain so “I look off and I stare” in a glazed over state. As my doctors have taught me, I cannot express my feelings because my pre-frontal cortex (the part of the brain that controls logical, orderly thought) is overridden by the amygdala (which stores emotional memory) and sends me into a fight or flight response. My body is in one place and my mind in another. It’s like the panic accelerator in my mind gets stuck and I am paralyzed with fear.”
Lady Gaga continues,”I am doing various modalities of psychotherapy and am on medicine prescribed by my psychiatrist. However, I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words…positive words…words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free.”
Prince William and Prince Harry have both admitted to seeking treatment for Depression after the death of their mother, Prince Diana, in 1997. Harry stated that he had surpassed these feelings for his mother’s passing, even 20 years afterwards. The Duke of Cambridge wants his children to be able to talk about their emotions. William says the “stiff upper lip” culture in the UK is something that needs to stop.
“It’s time that everyone speaks up and really feels very normal about mental health, it’s the same as physical health. Everybody has mental health and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it and just having a conversation with a friend or family member can really make such a difference.”
“It’s OK to have this conversation, it’s really important to have this conversation and that you won’t be judged.” William also stated.
“It’s so important to break open that fear and that taboo which is only going to lead to more problems down the line.”
Prince William had also made plans for them to get together when Lady Gaga comes to the UK in October. This is promising to all those that secretly endure mental illness without assistance. Hopefully this succeeds in making it easier to seek out the proper treatment. The new Lady Gaga single, The Cure, makes sense considering the dialog.