Sometimes when I share posts about my mental illness, I receive lovely responses of people telling me that I’m brave. I don’t feel brave, I don’t feel courageous. Is it bravery if you’re not scared of it? Does it really take courage if you are not ashamed? Surely being brave is facing danger. It doesn’t feel dangerous to speak out, it feels cathartic.
Some people have asked me if I’m worried that being so open about this stuff online will impact my future. They want to know if I’m worried that I won’t get employed because of this blog. It has crossed my mind, yes. There are people out there who will judge me for what I have written. There are people who meet me and think they know me because they have read this blog. But the truth is, they don’t know me at all. All they know is my mental illness, book preferences and political thoughts – I am more than that. Back to the job stuff anyway… I would not want to work for anyone who would not hire someone on the basis of their mental illness or internet presence. So I don’t really worry all that much.
I refuse to shut up about my mental health because I don’t get a break from it. Honestly and sadly, not much else goes on in my head and it is a major part of my life so why wouldn’t I talk about it? Just like someone would talk about their cat all the time or football or anything else that takes up a big chunk of their time.
I’m vocal about mental illness because sometimes people tell me that reading these blog posts has helped them to feel less alone. I talk about it because it helps those close to me to understand what I’m going through a bit more. Also, it gives me an outlet. I’ve always loved writing because it feels natural to me. It gives me a chance to think about things. It’s easier than talking because I can’t edit my conversations.
Why don’t I just write for myself? Why do I make it public? Because I want to, because it helps other people, because it makes me feel heard. Even if nobody reads this stuff, knowing that someone might allows me to have a voice. A voice that hasn’t been listened to for a long time, a voice that feels powerful.
So I don’t care if going on about mental health all the time is boring to people. They don’t have to read or listen to it. I don’t care if people judge me because of how public I make my struggle. I choose to be brutally honest because people should be able to find out what living with something like BPD is really like rather than the sweetened and more palatable versions of mental health we always see.
It’s my choice and I will keep talking and writing about my mental illness… at least until it stops being so relentless and enduring.