“Are you sure you want to post that? Everyone will know,” my wife asked.
“I know. That’s the point. I’m not hiding anymore,” I replied as I hit “publish”.
I have received nothing but positive feedback since I started my blog (thechelseysidler-larteystory.blogspot.com). At first, I was terrified that people would look at me differently or back away, but they did the opposite. I have had people tell me that my writing has opened their eyes and has made them have a new perspective on mental illness. Even a few people who did judge or treat me differently came forward and apologized for how they handled everything. Since blogging about my mental health adventure, nobody has treated me any differently or acted oddly around me because my mental issues. For that, I am very lucky because not everyone has the same experience. My friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances all treat me just the same.
I learned early on in my journey for mental stability that my mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of. Like any physical ailment, you have to assess and address the symptoms while trying to find the root cause. You are not your symptoms. You are not just a label. You are so much more.
When you have Celiac’s disease, you are not known as the Celiac friend – you are yourself. It shouldn’t change the way people think of you. It should be the same for people with mental illness.
However there are people who are misinformed or uneducated about mental health and do see a stigma with mental health. The best way to combat this is to speak up and share your experiences. Take the wonderful channels we have to disseminate information (twitter, facebook, tumblr, etc) and tell your story. You would be surprised by the reactions of people. You can help break down that stigma of mental health.
I have found great freedom in talking about my mental health experience to people. Sharing what I have gone through has proven to be a most advantageous outlet. I would challenge you to start opening up to people and sharing your knowledge with people so that we can end the stigma of mental health.