It’s time to talk about mental illness. I know, I know…that’s what we’ve been talking about all along, isn’t it? Well, not really. I’ve been doing a lot of talking/writing and you, dear reader, have been doing a lot of reading/listening. And I am extremely grateful for that. We got through the first step together. But, now it’s time to talk about it. You and me. Because, people don’t like to have conversations about mental illness. It’s uncomfortable. Sometimes we frame it under the label “mental health” — the positive side of things. We love to talk about what people are doing to make things better. We love recovery. We love a success story. We don’t love mental illness. We don’t love the deep, dark icky stuff that hurts to deal with, but we need to talk about it. We need to talk about it because, each time we do, it helps remove the stigma around it. It makes it easier for people like me who live with mental illnesses each day to exist. It makes it easier for people like me to know that we’re not alone. And not feeling alone is extremely important for that thing we don’t want to say, but is really the bottom line: survival.
Talking about mental illness is a matter of survival. Yes, the stakes are that high. We must talk about mental illness and make it safe territory. So that’s why I’m not writing anything further in this post, but rather turning it into an open forum. This is a place to share, if you feel safe doing so, your own experiences with mental illness.* What has been your experience with mental illness? What do you want people to know about you? What do you want them to learn from your experience? Feel free to share. I’ll be here, ready to listen.
*Please be mindful of sharing an appropriate level of detail for experiences that may be triggering to others (such as abuse or suicide attempts); as well as protecting any identifying information of others involved in your own story.