Writing About Mental Health Is Harder Than It Sounds
Maybe I can blame it on the incessant anxiety attack on Saturday, but I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t written anything on Sunday until noon, Monday.
That piece I posted on Saturday, about that anxiety attack, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It’s raw, it’s bitter. It’s a bit like unsweetened chocolate — you know it has the potential to taste great but it needs a bit of polishing and a healthy serving of sugar to turn it into something worthwhile.
It was also exhausting to write. I say that I don’t care what people think of my writing, but anyone who rights know that’s a little bit bullshit.
The problem with writing about my mental health is not that I’m afraid of what people think of my writing — I’m afraid of what they think of me.
I spent a lot of time as a kid being defined by my medication. Any outburst or irrational behavior got this response:
Did you take your meds today?
It was in the most snide and condescending tone that you can imagine. No one thought to take into account that I was a 15 year old girl — hormones are a bitch. Everything was blamed on my bipolar disorder and whether or not I had taken my medication that day.
I haven’t taken medication in 12 years, but that fear still lingers in my mind. 12 years as a functioning adult, but I’m still afraid to talk about my mental illness because of that stigma that accompanies it.
That stigma follows me around the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head even though very few people know that there is an imbalance in my brain-juice.
That fear, that stigma, is why I need to write about mental health. Because I am afraid, and can still write and there are far too many people out there that can’t — for whatever reason — so those of us who can have to be their voices too.