mental health · mental illness · Uncategorized

Why I Never Shut Up About My Mental Health

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.

9 thoughts on “Why I Never Shut Up About My Mental Health

  1. Recently i have been reading alot about mental illness, i came across a post from a website i can’t remember where someone had been diagnosed with cancer and her friends were “your so brave”, yet she explained that actually after numerous years of major depression and suicidal thoughts getting through that was brave. But of course, no one ever said that to her about her mental illness. You are brave. You get through each day. You create awareness and help others. You have exposed yourself. Your blog is your record of your personal development, the hurdles, the treatments etc, and any future employer looking at your blog can see this, only their own issues would be a barrier. I think this blog would do you favours, especially if you continue to work in mental health. Please don’t shut up!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I’m Paul, a medically retired Prison Officer with PTSD, anxiety and depression. I’ve suffered with mental health problems for more years than I care to remember, and like you I’m very open about it. I only found the courage, for want of a better word, to talk about my mental health issues after a colleague opened up to me about his struggle with depression. In doing so he broke the ‘unwritten rule’ of Prison Officers which was that you don’t talk about your feelings and that you DEFINITELY don’t admit to struggling with the implications of the job. From that moment on, some 15 years ago, I have been very vocal about my mental health problems, and I’m glad to say that has at least contributed to other colleagues opening up about their struggles.
    I was medically retired 5 years and 24 days ago, (not that I’m counting!) after numerous breakdowns, various combinations of anti depressant and anti anxiety medications and talking therapy. I was able to set myself up as a self employed painter and decorator initially, but unfortunately due to yet another change in medication I experienced another breakdown. Whilst I have ‘recovered’ from this after yet more medication, I am not the person I was before, and I am now completely unable to work, despite wanting to do so. I was incredibly fortunate to have a union representative with the tenacity of a Jack Russell, who over some 18 months fought first to get my medical retirement, and then what is called an injury benefit award. This is in effect a tax free monthly payment, on top of my pension, to compensate those who suffer injuries in the line of duty as Prison Officers to make up for their inability to earn a wage in the future. This has left me financially secure for life which is great, but I would give it all up in a heartbeat to have my mental health restored to what I fondly call ‘normal!’
    As well as being unable to work, I am also completely unable to engage in relationships, other than friendships, with members of the opposite sex. I have a number of male and female friends, and it is spending a couple of hours a week with some of them that helps to fill my time. I do also spend a considerable amount of time online, between social media and YouTube/Netflix.
    It would be great to hear from you, I’m sure that we could both help each other in some way.

    Regards

    Paul

    Paulbussey68@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Paul, thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear about your experiences, they sound awful and all too common. Well done for being open about your mental health despite it not initially being well received.
      I sincerely hope that things start to get better for you and am here if you need a chat!

      Like

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