Sometimes, I think of myself as an open ambassador for mental health. I talk openly about my OCD-type symptoms (in order to be diagnosed with OCD officially, it needs to cause me distress, and I’m happy to be pedantic, thank you), my depression and anxiety, my panic attacks and even a little about my background.
I talk here about my fears, my anger and how I’m overcoming limits in my everyday life. I came to create redefinition alchemy not by choice, but because I could no longer live the life I was living. I couldn’t go on in that state, with the perceptions I had.
More and more often I have been hearing comments that I’m so open about my experiences, that people wish more openness existed.
However, I feel I should tackle this mis-perception.
I am not open about the experiences which have heavily impacted my mental health.
The Appearance of Openness
It’s quite sad that people think to talk about depression makes someone brave. That means it’s still such a taboo.
It’s sad to realise that people think it’s special to talk about fear – something every human experiences.
Why is this not normal?!
I appear open because society thinks these things are abnormal (at best) or taboo to talk about.
I think it’s normal to discuss them, because I have my own list of taboos.
I have experiences so much worse than the ones I share here, that these mentioned scenarios are nothing in comparison.
I’ve written so many posts I never publish. If you think I’m being special to talk about my fear of the dark? Wait until you see the story about someone threatening to kill me when I was 14.
You think it’s a big deal that I write about panic attacks? If only you knew the two experiences which caused them.
Society, as I have grown up knowing it, sees norms as abnormal, and will go to any length to find difference in a race of beings who are the same.
Do you think mental health problems are abnormal?
1 in 4 people have them.
Do you think emotions are something only you feel? Does any human never feel fear or anxiety about anything?
All humans have the brain areas which cause chemicals causing emotions.
Do you know how many people have the deep stories of traumatic experience within them?
I bet every person has at least one.
These are conditions common to humans. And it’s been shown that talking helps.
So WHY can’t I talk about them? Why, people of 2012 do we not allow people to tell their story?
We in the Western world who condemn slavery and the separation based on race or gender – why is that wrong but mental wellness and mental illness are split down the middle?
Why is it inappropriate for me to say “yes, I’m afraid of cars – someone once threatened to crash the car with me in it, and even today I don’t know why he was upset”?
A Shift in Acceptance
Looking back at last week’s post; WHY must I be okay to drive just because John Smith likes driving cars and he’s my age?
Why can I not share that story with other humans?
Why won’t you speak out?
Are you so afraid to speak up?
I am afraid. But I’m standing up now.
And no, I won’t talk about the other incident or the other diagnosis. But I can tell you that every human being in the world has some experience of trauma, and that as I define it, every single person has experienced abuse.
So why don’t we take the time to change the stigma around mental health?
I’m ready to be heard.
Are you ready to listen?
– Rose –