Mental health is a relatively new area of discussion in terms of pathology and self-care. Previously, societies and cultures have found symptoms of mental health to be a shame to the family of the affected, thereby pushing families into hiding individuals instead of seeking help. There are also cultures that don’t believe in the existence of mental health yet. We need to help relieve the stigma of mental health with these people, yet even those in societies that have opened up conversations have a ways to go.

Our society is freeing itself of the chains and walking out of the dark rooms to express our experiences and thoughts on mental health, only to find that we’re still in a glass box. The glass box is an illusory freedom: while many may think that we’re finally free from the binds that keep us from expressing our discomforts, anxieties, and depression, there is still a barrier between us and the open sky of acceptance. Expression may open up social conversation amongst friends and families, but in a world where professional reputation and relationships has been gaining so much influence in one’s life, there is a fear that admitting to the possibility of a mental health issue, officially diagnosed or not, could block one from opportunities in jobs as doctors, lawyers, government workers, and more.

I hope that through writing and being with I Am Acceptance, I’ll be able to find a tool that would help me crack the glass and eventually shatter it around me. I may get shards and cuts that’ll show scars afterwards, but in the end, the relationships built and the identity formed from opening up without fear of consequence will last longer than a paycheck (and hopefully the paycheck will be given by people who foster an environment of acceptance and, thereby, make the job an experience that I love more than the salary). But those first hits at the glass box will never happen if nobody tries, and I hope that this journey will allow the pen to become the first weapon of choice.