Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet
Coming out of the mental illness closet is tough. Almost 90 percent of the time, I do not tell people about my mental health or diagnoses. However, this article is the beginning of me living a more authentic life. I am ready to share my own mental health story, publicly, under my real name. More importantly, I want to help break the stigma around mental health and inspire other people to share their own stories. I want to come out of the mental illness closet.
The Importance of Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet
I find it especially important to tell my mental health story and advocate for other survivors with it being just over a year since actor and comedian Robin Williams' suicide. When Williams passed away, so many people were shell shocked to find out he suffered with depression. Hopefully, now, a year after William’s death, family and loved ones play a more integral role in finding treatment for those in their lives they care about.
Because of the weight my mental illness has had on me in the past, I can’t help but feel like I am in one of those dreams where you’re standing in front of your high school class naked. I would love to say that I am being all brave by not caring what about what people will think of me after I come out of the mental illness closet. Yeah, I have to be completely honest here though. I am terrified; but I know it will be worth it in the end. Regardless of the negative feedback I might get from coming out, I know there will be at least one person benefiting from my posts. So for all of the mental health warriors out there, this post is for you.
Coming Out of My Mental Illness Closet
I have, for quite some time now, struggled with borderline personality disorder (BPD), posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and social anxiety. For the last few years, self-harm has also been a struggle for me. When my depression is at its most intense, I often struggle with suicidal ideation. Thankfully, in the last year, my BPD symptoms, including suicidal ideation, have decreased, as I’ve been involved with an online dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) group. DBT is touted as one of the primary therapies to treat and manage BPD.
However, there is still a lot I need to work on, and I am owning that. I know how easy it is to fall back into a cyclical pattern and spiral out of control again. After all, it’s been less than a year since my last stay at an inpatient facility.
Furthermore, intense, all-consuming relationships are still something I continue to struggle with. Oh, and let’s not forget impulse control either. Honestly, it is so incredibly grounding to admit what I need to work on. There is a beauty in all that honesty. I want people to know that my mental illness is an important part of who I am and I am no longer ashamed of it. There was a point in my life that I was in complete denial, but I have accepted who I am, and for that I am grateful. Now my mental illness does not define me. But I am a stronger person today because I have survived.
It gets better.
If you’re struggling with suicidal ideation, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255.
This post was written by:
Patti McDonald is a 28-year-old living in Boise, Idaho. She's a writer and former reporter. Patti advocates for mental health and depression in her spare time while living with her own mental illnesses: borderline personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. She hopes she inspires others to come out of the mental illness closet by telling her own mental health story. Find Patti on Twitter.
To be a guest author on the Your Mental Health Blog, go here.
Author, G. (2015, September 10). Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/yourmentalhealth/2015/09/coming-out-of-the-mental-illness-closet