You are probably not surprised to read that I have these same thoughts, often:
“Chances are, if you put all those people in a room that you are afraid might think differently of you for having mental illness, a good many of them are also suffering in silence, same as you. And I don’t know why it has to be that way. I don’t know why mental illness is seen as a weakness or some shameful thing that we can’t talk openly about. It shouldn’t be stigmatized. In fact, if I had a hidden agenda, it would be this: I would love for mental illness to be seen the same as any other long-term illness, and saying that you struggle with depression or anxiety, might be seen the same as saying you live with diabetes, or high blood pressure.”
Similar to Clint, when I wrote about not being OK a few weeks back, I also got quite a few private messages from friends and professional contacts who are silently also not OK. But they weren’t ready to talk about it publicly and I understand that. We’ve made it entirely too difficult for most people to talk about it publicly, because we immediately start to treat someone differently when we learn that they are now, or have in the past, been dealing with mental health issues. Unfortunately, that reaction that many have to hearing someone talk about it, is because we are so uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the idea of someone talking about it. And, so the circle just keeps repeating.
I wish we could find a way for us to feel more comfortable talking about our struggles. I’m doing what I can do with this site and social media. Can you do something similar? Even if you don’t want to talk about your own struggles right now, can you share resources and posts that you think might help others? Would it help show the people around you that you are OK with hearing about their struggles? I would certainly appreciate it, and you never know who it might help.