What Happened When I Shared My Mental Illness Experience
As I began to write and organize these ideas into a blog, I inevitably got to a place where I thought- woah. Wait. What if this actually happened. What if I truly shared this (my brain has to take baby steps, ok? ?) Would I even be okay with that? Could I bear being “that mental health girl”? Was I ok with this being so much a part of my identity? Well, what I’ve decided, is I will have to embrace it anyway, for I don’t really have much of a choice. I think of it like this- If someone is an author of non-fiction, you consider them an expert. A well experienced connoisseur of their field of choice. Of choice. That’s the important difference to highlight. For I didn’t grow up inspired by psychology, stories of struggle or insights on friendships (side note: in retrospect, maybe I should’ve paid more attention tbh) but, inadvertently, I find myself a well versed expert. I didn’t externally seek out any of this information, but it literally presented itself to me from the inside out. I lived and felt it. This is precisely what makes mental health stand out so much as a topic. It is universal, everlasting, and impossible to grasp complete control over. I may never have chosen to delve into the complications of mental health, but I had to. And I’m better for it. I understand so much more about what it is to be a human, and how so much of our sanity directly founds itself from our impermeable, but constant connections to ourselves and to each other. Compassion and empathy, literally are everything about living. At least, that’s what I’ve had to decide in order to keep trying it. That’s what grew from the inside out to allow some order of perception and put context to my realm of understanding. Perhaps for others, they find ease of mind in alternative forms. Though during times when we can’t even see what’s wrong, but worry and despair still persist within us, I believe it requires something just as invisibly confusing. If depression and anxiety are the equivalent of darkness, their opposite, lightness, must be compassion and empathy. Meaning, taking the time to truly care. Caring about caring is so important? Though, the benefits of sharing don’t come freely. Being truthful about your thoughts requires an awful lot of vulnerability. For me, I’ve felt this at all levels of sharing, and it’s time I took big steps against it. I had let it get to a point where every slightly wrong word choice was painful, every conversation was a battle, and any public (Facebook, Instagram..) post was an automatic panic attack. I let that become my normal reaction to sharing widely and with limited control or ability to take it back. But I know I need to find the strength to do it anyways because, well, I just really really really like people. And even though I can find them terrifying and confusing, at times, I’ve found that sharing helps. It really does. I wouldn’t have believed that. But I had to learn. Through sitting, unable to speak, with 5 councillors over 4 years, through three, wordless hospitalizations, and through far too many silences. I’ve learnt that having a voice matters, it helps and it works. So use it!! I’m so used to being quiet, but it isn’t nearly as fun as being loud? After quite a lot of listening, I think I’ve finally found some words. You certainly don’t have to listen, but I’m gunna try out this talking thing. I’m not as ready as I’ll ever be, but I’m as nervous as I’ll always be- and that’s okay, I’m just going to have to get comfortable saying that without hesitation ?