It’s Mental Health Week and I’ve been engaging in some discussions lately that I wanted to expand in a blog post – and I’ve been more than a lot neglectful of this space lately so.
A big part of my experience with my depression (and from my readings and travels, many others also share this experience) has been, to quote Elsa (shocking for me, I know):
Don’t let them in
Don’t let them see
Be the good girl
You always have to be
Put on a show
Make one wrong move
And everyone will know
What does this mean? It means hiding behind a mask. Pretending to be okay when you’re not. Dreading what it would mean if someone you haven’t thoroughly vetted finds out about your illness. Not being able to have control over that knowledge.
It’s an exhausting existence.
A number of years ago I came to the conclusion that for the most part, my mental illness is part of who I am. It wasn’t something I should be ashamed of. It was something I would live with, likely, forever.
I was more open about my illness – I gave less power to what those thought of me because of my illness. Make no mistake, it was still difficult, but I felt better about myself. I’ve bounced between extremes on how I approach my illness and I’d like to think that generally speaking I’ve found a pretty reasonable ground on how I speak about it and speak about the impact it has on my life and on others. I feel good about this. I am glad I have found the strength to accept and live as who I am.
Being a bear is not always easy, but I am sure being an anything else is no easier. Be the thing you happen to be, even when it's difficult.
— A bear (@A_single_bear) April 19, 2017
With that said – others don’t. There’s factors that others live with that prevent them from living who they are – and not just in the mental health realm. Really simple example: consider a member of the LGBTQ+ community who comes from an ultra-conservative family. That individual does not have the “at home” support that I was lucky enough to have. These are people that unfortunately, can’t live who they are.
I guess what my point is – I want people to live in a world where they can live as who they are fearlessly.
To close, know who you are in your heart. Know that others want you to be able to live who you are.