Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet

September 10, 2015 Guest Author

Coming out of the mental illness closet is a challenge and for a long time, I didn't do it. Now I'm sharing my mental health story in an attempt to help others.

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.

Coming out of the mental illness closet is a challenge and for a long time, I didn't do it. Now I'm sharing my mental health story in an attempt to help others.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:

PattiPatti 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.

APA Reference
Author, G. (2015, September 10). Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Author: Guest Author

Lois watling
September, 25 2016 at 8:58 pm

Thank you for your courage to write freely of your battle with mental illness! I too suffer from the same BPD, PTSD, a-typical depression and anxiety disorders and because of your willingness to share your disabilities, I made the decision to also tell of my illnesses. I too had times where self-harm or suicide seemed to be the only way to get relief from this insidious all-encompassing pain, but with the assistance of doctors and specialized nursing staff my days are brighter and much clearer now. The kind words and encouragement I have received from family and friends has made my heart happier. I was so scared I would be harshly judged. May your road to wellness be straight and uncluttered! If anyone who reads this has doubts about your own or a friends mental wellness, please seek help! There are brilliant, kind and caring souls who will really listen, won't judge and can really help you towards a better life!

September, 25 2016 at 4:15 am

I'm 41 and I've been living with bpd and depression for 25 years and ptsd for 8 years. The more people talk about what we live with on a daily basis the more understanding we will find. Suicide I think is what needs to be spoken about the most.

Dr Musli Ferati
September, 26 2015 at 7:37 pm

Comorbid mental disorders exhibits difficult mental health issue, particularly when it is related to young people, as sensible person to turmoil life experience. Your age is in pre-adulthood section, which one underlines different non-conformities with up to date classification of mental disorders, approved from respectable national and international psychiatric association, such are APA, WPA and so on. However, your genuine withstanding with these mental difficulties along get out of mental illness closet indicates useful way to manage any mental disorder. It is in concordance with the axiom that unspeakable emotions become toxic ones. Beside this veracity, interpersonal relation develop great social network, as supportive background of any psychiatric patient. On the other hand, unlocking of emotional disorder toward others enable us to overcome easy our psychos-social struggles, as result of any mental illnesses. In the end, this active and inventive manner of dealing with mental disorder gives a guarantee for good recover process, as meaningful step of wholesome mental health care.

Garry watkins
September, 22 2015 at 6:22 am

Hello. My name is Garry Watkins and I live in Sydney Australia. I have also decided to let everyone know about my struggles and battles with ongoing mental illness as a result of a motor vehicle accident that occurred while I was working in 2009. I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Depression and Suicidal Ideation. I found this article on Pinterst and have pinned it to my page. I also have a website and blog as well where I post about my mental illness.

September, 14 2015 at 10:20 am

Thank you so much for your words! And I do think is brave to come out of the mental illness closet... I am still not able to do that and probably not be able to do it for a long time but I understand your struggle. Keep being strong, I know, it does get better!

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