I haven’t written on here for ages… I really love writing and I used to really love writing on this blog, and it would make me so happy when other people would tell me they loved reading it! But one day I just stopped. Why? I felt as though my posts were shallow … it wasn’t what I really wanted to write about. So, what did I want to write about and why didn’t I just do that you might wonder… because I told myself that I couldn’t. Because, if I did nobody would enjoy reading my blog anymore and everyone would see me for the crazy lunatic I told myself I was.
The truth is, I struggle with mental illness. Anxiety and depression to be exact.
A few times over the years I would write up a very articulate blog post meant to spread the word about mental illness and shatter the stigma attached to it, but each time I would delete the post because I was so worried about what everyone would think of me if I admitted such a thing.
I worried that I would lose my job – I was a play school teacher then and I thought that if I opened up about this that all of the parents would surely think I was a mental person who should not be around their children.
I worried that I would lose my friends – I had heard some of them make comments about mental health, negative comments that came from a place of misunderstanding and ignorance. I did not want them to think those things of me.
I worried that I would seem like I was seeking attention – for those of you who have known the struggle of mental illness in your life you know that is entirely the opposite of what we want.
So with a screen of what I hoped was well articulated stories of my experiences staring me in the face, the truth staring me in the face, I would begin to feel nervous and afraid and my mouse would move over to the delete post button each and every time.
Keep it to yourself.
Nobody wants to know your problems.
You are crazy.
You are alone in this.
On and on the voices continued to tell me everything I feared would happen by sharing my stories, my experiences, my thoughts. So I kept quiet.
Recently I have come to realize that is the problem. If we keep quiet, if we shut up those thoughts and feelings, then we are continuing to let those negative influences dictate us. We are continuing to let the misunderstandings and ignorances of others hold us back in fear. We are continuing to tell ourselves that our stories don’t matter, that we don’t matter. But the truth is… we do matter. YOU matter. No matter what you are going through, no matter who you think will not understand or ridicule you for it or run screaming to the hills to announce that you need to be locked up in a looney bin (they don’t have those anymore, trust me I checked before writing this) I am here to tell you that it is time to let go of those fears.
It’s time to talk.
It’s time to recognize mental illness for what it is. An illness. Something that cannot be overcome by ignoring it. You can’t ignore diabetes, you would die. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can ignore your mental health either. You cannot. It will not go away. It is not just a phase.
I want to rally against the stigma. I want you to join me. Spread the word. Share your story. Talk to someone. Talk everyday. Cry if you have to. Talk and cry at the same time if that is what you need. I have been there. Nobody understood a word I was saying because I was crying so hard, but there was something uplifting in those moments of rawness where I felt I was so exposed that I could no longer hide. I could no longer lie. They knew. Now they knew what I was going through. How hard and painful it was for me. Find the strength to show someone that and I promise you will be so glad you did. It will open doors, doors of communication, of help, of understanding. Keep them open. Those are your ally’s.
We are not in this alone. We cannot come out of it alone either. So Let’s Talk.