Disclosing mental illness may look like a risky thing to do, and in some ways it is. I understand that it may turn people away from me, that it may even make me miss good job opportunities.
But if for example I am not hired for a job because my mental condition may put my abilities in question, then would such a missed opportunity be that much of a good one? Rather, doesn’t it mean that I am dodging a bullet by avoiding a toxic work culture where mental illness is considered weakness or incompetence? Having a good job is not only about having a good salary: it is also very important to be in a space where I can cater to my well-being, which cannot be achieved if I were to face stigma and intolerance on a daily basis.
I wish to fight the stigma around mental illness and contribute to the dialogue
By putting myself out there, blogging candidly about it, and therefore exposing myself, I wish to fight the stigma around mental illness and contribute to the dialogue that is currently going on in Canadian society. I hope that eventually, mental illness will be better understood and that society at large will be able to see beyond the prejudices and stereotypes.
Also, not having to hide is a weight that I allow myself to take off of my shoulders, because I’d rather spend my energy on something more positive, like taking care of myself and making sure that my needs are met (which is a bit of a new concept to me, but that I have come to accept as paramount to a proper recovery).
I have been abused verbally, physically, psychologically during all my childhood. I have suffered neglect. I was sexually molested. I have been homeless. Today I am suffering the consequences and I am bearing the invisible wounds of my screwed up upbringing. My emotional development is flawed and incomplete. I have PTSD.
And yet, I have survived, I have built a decent life, I have my own family and our relations are based on love and mutual respect, not fear. I may not have had a role model to follow, but I was given an example of what I did not want to become. I was still able to build my own set of core values, and because I stuck to them I not only survived, but managed to make what I consider a good life.
Granted, I have issues. But I am working very hard on them, and the present residential treatment at a mental institution is a huge commitment – it is an investment in my future, the future of my family, and I am very determined to better myself. I refuse to be ashamed of it. Isn’t it time I allowed myself to lick my wounds and make sure I can heal, cope and grow in a healthy fashion?
So if I lose a friend, a job, or any opportunity in life due to my fiercely fighting mental illness, whose loss is it, really?