There seems to have been a lot of blog posts recently about depression and the sharing of one’s mental health status.
For some reason, this seems to have had a bit of a negative backlash. I’ve been disappointed to read some snark and saddened by the lack of support that has been apparent. I hasten to add that I’ve also been gladdened by the strength of character shown and the depth of support that I, and so very many others, have received.
It is very brave to admit to your battles with the black dog. Pushing the publish button on this post was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Why did I do it? Because I was sick of being hypocritical. I am the first person to say that you’d seek medical attention for a physical health problem, and a mental health problem is no different. So why wasn’t I talking about my diagnosis of PMDD and the “survivor guilt” depression slump that surprised me by appearing when I’d gone into remission from my auto immune disorder? I lost most of my 30s to chronic illness and it had affected my entire family. I was very proud that I’d managed to survive without succumbing to depression and bitterly disappointed that going into remission, of all things, had triggered a bout of depression.
I was merely adding to the stigma that I don’t believe should exist. By “hiding” my diagnosis and subsequent treatment, I was perpetuating the belief that mental health issues are something to be ashamed of.
Coming clean and standing up to be counted amongst the many who deal with mental health issues, whether they are lifelong or temporary, was so empowering for me. I was truly touched by the levels of support I received.
I would like to think that we can all take strength and receive support. Let’s make Depression Confession a symbol of strength rather than a declaration of weakness.
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