I have always been open to sharing my mental health issues. I have never hid it from my friends and family.
Sharing has not been easy; once I share I immediately feel guilt, shame, horror, victimization, stress, anxiety, disgust...etc. . This is because I experience stigma every single day. I experience stigma from friends and family (sometimes unintentionally). I experience stigma from strangers. I experience stigma on social media and on TV.
Stigma is all around us and it's scary to be vulnerable and want to share.
A few weeks ago, I read a personal essay that Kristen Bell wrote about her struggles with mental illness. This article changed my feelings about sharing.
Kristen Bell is a famous actress, who experiences scrutiny and judgement. If she can open up about her mental health, then so can I. The feeling of support I experienced from Bell (a total stranger), is weird. I don't know her at all, but something about her being a celebrity made me realize that this is okay.
It is okay to open up about your struggles. It is okay to open up about your challenges, because people want to support you.
The essay says it best, "Talking about how you’re feeling is the first step to helping yourself. Depression is a problem that actually has so many solutions. Let’s work together to find those solutions for each other and cast some light on a dark situation".
Feature image : http://girltalkhq.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/kristen-bell-103358.jpg