Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why So Public?

I'm often questioned on why I'm so public with various aspects of my life.  The basic answer is that it's just who I am.  I've always been pretty much a 'what you see is what you get' kind of person.  As the years have gone by, the person I am has just become more and more controversial and/or non-traditional so this part of my personality has become more noticeable.

I think there are a lot of reasons why I am the way I am.  For one, I want people around me who actually enjoy my company.  I believe that we need to put our true selves forward in order to have genuine relationships.  If we're all just presenting ourselves as who we think others want to see or if we only show people the superficial aspects and nothing deeper then our relationships aren't real.  That said, there are people in my life that I know I need to be more reserved around and I accept that sometimes it's necessary, but as a general rule I do my best to avoid those people.

Second reason is that, while I'm sure most people are generally good, there are some folks who like nothing better than digging up dirt on the people around them and spreading it around.  This is why many people keep everything personal to that others can't use it against them.  I take the opposite stance.  People can't really gossip about you if it's public knowledge.  "OMG!  Did you hear that she had a mental breakdown???"  "Ummmm ya.  It's on her blog."

Another reason is the feedback I get from people around me.  It's amazing what happens when you share your own difficulties.  People come out of the woodwork with similar stories.  Often people you would never expect.  I find this particularly beneficial in two ways.  First, when I'm in the thick of the issue it's so helpful to talk to people who have been through it already.  They provide perspective, insight, tips, support, encouragement and they make me feel so much less alone.  On the other side, when I talk about past problems and hear from people who are currently going through a similar situation, I can be the one providing all of the above.  I remember once being at a specialist appointment (have had so many, can't remember which one) and I was going over my medical history and medications with the nurse prior to seeing the doctor.  She questioned one of my medications and I told her all about it.  She suddenly blurted out "Oh my god!  I have the same problem!  I didn't know anything could be done about it?!?"  We ended up talking for like 20 minutes while I filled her in completely and she intended to make an appointment with her own doctor to discuss it.

In looking at my own comment above, I see probably the biggest reason of all.  "...and they make me feel so much less alone."  We, as human beings, have a tendency to think we're the only ones who feel the way we do.  Teenagers go through high school thinking "everyone else seems fine so what's wrong with me?".  Women go through life thinking "if only I was beautiful like that woman on the magazine cover?"  Well guess what - all teenagers, even the jocks and the cheerleaders and the valedictorians, all feel anxious and inferior and depressed and scared sometimes.  And guess what - that woman on the magazine cover most likely thinks she's fat and was probably photo-shopped so thinks even less of herself.  We all go through crap in our lives on a regular basis and if we were just willing to talk openly about it, I think it would all feel a little less crappy.  We wouldn't feel alone because we wouldn't be....EVER!

So yes, I have recently been through something traumatic which has caused an emotional breakdown like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.  I'm still in the middle of it and I question my sanity daily and, quite frankly, I'm scared shitless.  But the one thing I no longer feel is alone.  I have people to talk to who understand and empathize and who know for a fact that this tunnel has an end.  No one can tell me precisely when or how I'll find it, but they assure me that it is definitely there and they support me through my journey towards it.

Mental health on its own has an unfortunate stigma attached to it.  My breakdown coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week/Month which was actually quite helpful.  There were campaigns going on all over the place which provided information and support and reminded me that this isn't anything to be ashamed of.  The brain is a complex organ and sometimes it goes a little wacky.  For some it's temporary and for others it's permanent, but there is help for everyone.  I'm doing my best to get the help I need and blogging about what I'm going through helps me focus and find support.  If openly discussing my journey encourages others to seek help for themselves, then that's an added bonus.

No comments:

Post a Comment