*See what I did there?
My second year pledging my commitment to be mental! WOW
Time flies. And Ruby’s & Lulu’s baby is growing fast too! And we’re all so proud…
Those of you familiar with my blog will recall that I’ve been facing quite a few challenges lately.
Back in September 2013, I got to a point where I felt it was not safe for me to be home and I committed myself to the Mental Health Unit at The Ottawa Hospital.
The first three days of my stay, I was heavily sedated but by the fourth day, I was awake enough to post an update on Facebook explaining where I was and why I was there.
Later that day when my daughter came to visit, she said to me: That post on Facebook, do you know everybody can see it? Yes, I said. I put it there so everybody could see it. Just making sure you knew, she said. And then we proceeded to play Tetris Jenga.
I also wrote a blog post (of course I wrote a blog post!) about the whole experience. Here it is, in case you feel inclined to read it.
The thing is, that little FB update went wildly popular with some 150 likes and more than a hundred comments from people wishing me a speedy recovery and commending me for being so brave as to publicly admit not only that I had a mental illness, but that I was hospitalized at a Mental Health Unit.
That felt nice, but it also made me sad.
What made me even more sadder, was the private messages I got. Dozens of them. From friends and acquaintances. Virtually all of them started with either one of two ways:
- I didn’t feel comfortable saying this publicly but….
- I didn’t know if you were OK with me saying this publicly so I am private-messaging you…
And then they would go on to say they admired me very much for being so brave. Some of them were to wish me well but a good number of them said that they also struggled with mental illness but didn’t feel they could come out of the closet for it. For many different reasons, but mostly because of work. They felt they would lose their jobs if their bosses knew.
Sadness and anger!
I continued to post updates of FB on my recovery journey and the support/praise comments and private messaging continued to flow in.
And now, please allow me to cheat a little, because I feel that something I already wrote, very much belongs to this post. It is taken from my Damn You Stigma post (which by the way, and not to blow my own horn, but it is a post well worth reading):
I want a world where talking publicly about one’s mental illness is not seeing as courageous but rather not seeing as anything because it is so normal that nobody would blink or think anything of it.
I want a world where talking about my mental illness won’t make my dear friends feel uncomfortable because they don’t know if I am ok with them talking openly about it when some other friend is asking about me.
I want a world where those friends won’t have to debate in their heads whether sending a public message to me is good or bad.
I want a world where my friend won’t feel self-conscious or uncomfortable in any way, about visiting me at the psych ward.
I want a world where mental illness have no associated stigma whatsoever. Where nobody is afraid of losing their job for having a mental illness. Where nobody is fired for having a mental illness. And that is why, my friends, for the second year in a row:
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
Here’s the original Blog For Mental Health 2014 post in case you want to find more about the project or add your own pledge.