From Instagram hashtags, to globe and mail features, and worldwide campaigns – mental health talk seems to be going mainstream! It’s incredible to see, as hopefully it will save lives. It makes me SO hopeful. Though, seeing these stories can also leave me feeling a little buried and muffled by it all. I really want to be a part of this discussion. Mental health as a topic has (accidentally) become a core part of my entire existence and outlook. It is an issue that now feels integrally personal. Each time any media form mentions it, it prods deeply through to my most carefully insulated layers, it sends an electric surge so strong that it often overpowers and disconnects all circuits within me. I want to be a part of this discussion, but words are so difficult in this “here and now”. When words do come, it’s in a tidal overhaul.
These days, recounts and recovery stories fill the news, and events and fundraisers constantly spark energy into what seems like such a slumping and sluggish sort of sickness.
Facebook posts showered in likes, hearts and praise can seem so confusing to me. Depression provides such an ash-laden lifestyle, it’s can be confusing to see people find success in their struggles, while still in the midst of all the fog.
I’ve realized it’s important to be very wary of this sort of thought process. I’m remembering to check myself at any hint of a negative response to shared stories. When I remember to read with empathy, I remember the purpose of all this exposition. The reason we’re seeing such a surge of open sharing is to break through any unfounded judgments and negative assumptions that stem from being unfamiliar with open emotions. I think anxiety based reactions of self-comparison are very valid, though I think it’s important we work to separate the anxiety from the judgment. When we use both our hearts and heads to interpret open communication, we break through stigma boundaries in a big way.
Originally published, here on December 5th,2016