Uncomfortable. That’s how I’ve felt since publishing my previous post on social media.
Uncomfortable. That’s how I believe I’ve made people feel.
Uncomfortable. That’s why these things need to be said.
My last post made me pretty vulnerable. So vulnerable that I waited almost a full week before publishing it on Facebook. I was afraid what people would think. Of me. Of the topic. Of my story.
I spoke of things that aren’t spoken of in today’s culture. I think we’re getting better about it, but the topics are still taboo. And some struggles are more acceptable than others. Mostly because they’re talked about more frequently. Which means we need to start talking more.
Depression and eating disorders? Relatively ok to talk about. Bipolar Disorder? Maybe. Suicide and psychosis? Not so much. That’s just crazy talk.
I wonder what people will think of me when I talk about these things. Will people look at me differently? Will they want their kids around me? Will they hire me? Will they be fearful? Uneasy? Uncomfortable?
Should I have published the post at all? Was I an idiot? Had I just fallen flat on my face?
These things all ran through my mind yesterday morning after I hit Facebook’s “post” button. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! I should go take it down. Yes, yes. Hope nobody read it and take it down immediately. The possible repercussions are way too high, I told myself.
So what stopped me? What prevented me from deleting the post entirely? Was this a self-destructive tendency? No. No, I don’t think so.
Someone has to talk about this stuff. And if not me, then who? Someone has to fight the stigma. It’s gotta start somewhere. So why not here?
This blog is all about being real. From the start. It’s a principal fundamental to its creation. Keeping it real. And this stuff? It’s about as real as it gets, folks.
Mental illness is REAL. It’s as real as cancer or a heart attack or diabetes.
And it’s time to talk.
And that might make some people uncomfortable. Some people might refuse to make eye contact. Some people might distance themselves from me. Some people might walk on eggshells and some people might think I’m straight up crazy. Potential employers may not hire me. Some people might tell me I’m too honest. Too transparent. Too much.
All of these things ran through my mind yesterday morning. And I had to think of an answer. I had to think of a reason to say “I don’t care how they may or may not act. What they may or may not think. What they do or do not say. What the consequences may or may not be.”
And all I could think of was 3 words: Break. The. Silence.
I’m not going to hang my head in shame. I’m not going to filter my blog. I’m not going to hide from the truth. I’m going to break the silence. I’m going to be part of something bigger than myself. Because that’s what this is.
Do you think I’m proud of these things? Do you think I write about my struggles to brag or put myself on a pedestal? Do you think I crave attention?
No. But I’m not ashamed of them either. These things don’t make me less of a person. They don’t define me. They don’t make me less worthy or less valuable or less human than the guy standing next to me.
They say secrets keep you sick. And I have personally experienced this to be true. But I see it on a larger scale now. My desire to keep my struggle a secret? What if it keeps other people sick? What if my silence means that other people feel alone? What if it means that other people don’t get help the need? The help they deserve? What if keeping my struggle a secret lets the public stay ignorant? What if it contributes to a greater problem?
Sharing my secrets may cause a ripple. And that ripple can be seen as either a positive or a negative chain of events. Yes, it could change the way people treat me. But it could also let someone know they’re not alone. It could encourage them to seek help. It could let them have an improved quality of life. What if sharing my secrets created positive change? Even for just one person? Isn’t that worth it?
To me it is. To me it’s worth breaking the silence. It’s worth making people uncomfortable. It’s worth becoming vulnerable and overcoming shame. It’s worth identifying with a stigmatized illness. It’s worth it.
Call me crazy, but I think that one person can make a difference. I really do. And if one person can make a difference, think of the power of 2. Or ten. Or one hundred.
I don’t know the reach that this blog has. I have no idea how many people read it. Maybe I’m just making all of this up. Maybe nobody read my post and nobody is looking at me any differently and nobody really cares what I have to say or how I say it. I hope that is not the case.
But you can be part of something bigger, too. If you want to. You can help break the silence and you can be an agent for change.
I’m not ashamed of my posts. And you shouldn’t be either. Mental illness is often a silent struggle. And chances are you know someone who is suffering. So why not share? Why not let someone know they’re not alone? Why not be a positive influence in someone’s life? So I’ll ask you again: why not share?
I’m looking to expand my reach. I want my struggle to mean something. I want to encourage others. I want to break the silence. So I’m asking for some help. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable sharing my posts. I understand. That’s ok. But maybe you know of a way to get the word out. Maybe you know a platform I could use. Maybe you have a person you could connect me with. Maybe you have more power than you think.
They say the magic happens just outside our comfort zones. So maybe it’s ok to be uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it pushes us to be something better.
So no, I’m not sorry for talking about the tough stuff. For making you uncomfortable. For putting myself out there and potentially sharing just a little too much.
No, I’m not sorry for asking for your help.
No, I’m not sorry about my past.
And no, I’m definitely not sorry about where I see myself in the future.
Linking up with The Sway!