's launched a new blog
: "I want to show people what living with my mental illness is like. Visibility is a major factor in reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. For many people, though, it’s risky talking about these things, for having “crazy” be the first thing people know about you. People have to keep themselves safe, and many cannot speak out."
And, you know, there's all sorts of reasons I think it's very important to talk - and talk publicly - about mental illness. So: hi. I have chronic depression with anxiety; I've been depressed at least
since I was thirteen. I strongly suspect I also have undiagnosed PTSD.
I started medication when I was 21, because I couldn't put it off any longer. I'd delayed seeking diagnosis for so long because of the stigma: both medically, in that it would have been even harder to get my chronic pain diagnosed if doctors could happily dismiss it as somatisation, and socially/academically. As it is, I took a year out of my undergraduate degree, and every time someone asks about it I have to decide between the bland and anodyne "for health reasons" and the braver - and more informative - "I went very, very mad".
Crazy is a thing I am. It's a thing I can't hide, even if I want to: ask me, maybe, about the times I've suddenly realised, walking through a supermarket or shopping centre, that I've been muttering out loud for several minutes. Or, well, ask me about the way it impacts on my work.
But: "crazy", being crazy, isn't the bad thing here, particularly: it's hard, some days or weeks or months, but I am medicated and I have people and I have a counsellor and mostly, for the time being, I'm alright.
The bad thing is the way people react to "crazy": the way that in trivialising it they trivialise me, or that in fearing it or despising it, it is me they fear or despise, or that in being visibly crazy in public I put myself in danger - and in more than one sense this is not something I can control
Here's another thing: it feels very strange to say "I am depressed" when my medication and support network are currently keeping me functionally not-depressed [most of the time]. But: I have endometriosis even when I'm not in pain; I have endometriosis even when my painkillers, or my GnRH agonists, or whatever, are working. And I am aware - and sometimes it is painfully, desperately aware - that the only things between me and my illness are my daylight lamp and 30mg a day - forty in winter - of citalopram hydrobromide. Like jjhunter says: and 'history of depression' means there's no defense/perfect enough to keep it from coming back
; like Onsind say
: yeah it gets better / but it also could get worse / tainted blessing, stubborn curse / and all the same, you just take it day by day (by day by day)
And that? That is why I am going to keep on talking.