I'm Still Not Comfortable Talking About My Mental Health
The truth is out. I'm a mental health blogger who is not entirely comfortable talking about my mental health journey. Yes, I divulge details of one of the most painful and personal experiences in my life on the Internet that anyone can see with the click of a mouse or a tap of a finger, but every time I hit "publish," I get a little rush of fear. I fear that my colleagues will read my articles and think I'm a less competent worker. I fear that the guy I'm interested in will read about my experiences before I feel it's time to sit down and tell him directly. The funny thing about my fear is that it's not manufactured solely by myself; it's a byproduct of societal influence.
Stigma Makes Me Feel Uncomfortable Talking About My Mental Health
It pains me that many individuals struggling feel they can't speak out about what they are going through. I will never take for granted that my family never once judged me or viewed me differently because of my depression. Not everyone has that. Stigma can prevent individuals from experiencing that inalienable right.
Even with substantial acceptance in my household and outside world, I still felt a fierce need to hide my depression. It felt like I was not myself in every part of my life but in my work. Part of me wanted to control something in my life. For me, that something was deciding who I let into the messy, emotional, and intimate cocoon that was my mental illness.
But it was more than just my desperation for control driving this behavior. It was my fear of being judged. It was my fear of others not understanding. Societal stigma caused my fear and the misconception that battling a mental illness somehow made me weaker. In actuality, it had the opposite effect; it highlighted my strength and courage to speak the truth, regardless of how others may interpret it. Courage is what I hold onto when I tell a new person my story, post something on social media, and even when hitting "publish" on a new article. I'm not shielded in any way from the influence of stigma, but I do see a larger purpose in sharing my story. The opportunity to help others is what I hold on tightest to.
Our Community Gives Me the Courage to Live My Truth
You all are superheroes. I feel so lucky to interact with strong, resilient, and courageous people. Being part of a community that either has or is currently experiencing similar obstacles is empowering. It may not silence the stigma altogether, but it sure does put it in its place.
Jack, J. (2022, September 1). I'm Still Not Comfortable Talking About My Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, November 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2022/9/im-still-not-comfortable-talking-about-my-mental-health