I’ve never been one to hold back on talking about how I’m feeling or what I’m going through – for sure not on my blog, and sometimes in real life too. It has never been a secret that I’ve struggled with anxiety for many years, and that I’ve experienced an acute worsening of that anxiety in the past year or so. It’s no secret that I’m currently taking medications and actively seeking counselling to help ease my anxiety. I’ve been open about my struggles with abuse, depression, recovery, insecurities, poor self esteem, and any other issues in my life that have affected my mental health. Despite all of this openness and honesty, I still struggle every day.
I struggle with the fact that it’s not always acceptable for me to talk about how I’m feeling openly.
I struggle with the knowledge that being vulnerable, asking for help, and seeking support has often left me stranded and reeling with struggles greater than what I dealt with before.
I struggle with finding the balance between what is enough and what is too much; what is right and what is wrong; what is my issue and what is not.
I made a resolution this year to stop struggling with the psychological issues and insecurities that contribute to my overall mental health.
Unfortunately, I haven’t stopped struggling: I’ve just stopped talking.
I thought that talking about it was contributing to the problem, but as the weeks pass I am beginning to realize that not talking about it is the real problem. And why do I (and everyone else who struggles) make the decision to stop talking?
It’s because talking makes everyone else uncomfortable. If only talking about mental health – and everything related to it – was acceptable and encouraged rather than feared and avoided.
Perhaps I wouldn’t be struggling so much.
Perhaps writing on my blog and talking with a psychologist behind a closed door wouldn’t be my only “acceptable” options for discussion.
Perhaps engaging in mutual and reciprocal honesty about our mental health would make everyone’s lives
a little a lot less difficult.
So here’s what I want to say:
I live with anxiety everyday.
I constantly struggle with low self-esteem.
I was in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship for far too long.
I have struggled with not blaming myself.
I thought I had it figured out, but it is a constant process of changing
I’ve been rejected for trying to talk – and that makes me want to close the door.
Mental health is more than a diagnosis – we are all involved and we are all affected to different extents.
I might have no “reason” to struggle with this issues, but I do.
And, that’s the truth.
I have tried to open up and be more vocal about who I am.
I have allowed myself to be vulnerable – to show everything about the real me.
I’ve really only ever met resistance – or rejection – or a lack of understanding.
It’s one thing to talk, but it’s another thing to listen. Talking about Mental Health means that we all have to participate – we all have to be willing to listen as well as being willing to talk. Talking without sharing can lead to stronger feelings of isolation: “Why do I feel this way but no one else does?” Be willing to share – give and take – in the efforts to deconstruct the myths around mental health.
Today we will work on talking.
Tomorrow, let’s work on sharing.