What is a secret anyway?
A secret is something you keep hidden. Normally it’s because you’re ashamed, or embarrassed, well, thats what I think at least. I know that personally I’ve had way too many embarrassing moments too keep them secret.. Besides who wouldn’t want to know I was a failing beauty queen contestant, who accidentally insulted our then-premier and completely forgot how to use common sense while on stage? I never even thought about trying to keep these experiences secret. My mental illness was a different story.
Upon being diagnosed I was struck with a wall of denial. I just couldn’t believe “someone like me” could be depressed. I had it good, and depression was just for drug addicts wasn’t it? I didn’t want to tell anyone I was depressed because I didn’t want to have to admit it to myself. I had labeled people with depression as “crazy”, and now I was one of them. Was I crazy now?
I was taught that mental illness was something you only spoke about in whispered voices, but this wasn’t something I could hide. I was so embarrassed to tell people. I assumed everyone would treat me differently, like I had some contagious disease. Of course that didn’t happen. People were surprised, but they understood that it was something I couldn’t help. Im not going to lie, there were, and still are, a few people who don’t accept my depression but thats life. 1 out of 50 ain’t too bad!
I’ve become significantly more vocal about my depression over the years. And I no longer agree that mental illness is something you should whisper about, or even try to keep secret. I think it’s something you should print on the front page of the newspaper! The conversation about mental health needs to become louder. People have a hard time accepting things they don’t understand, so us mental illness survivors need to tell the world our stories. The more people open up, the less stigma will surround the topic. In turn, this is will make it easier for the newly diagnosed to deal with how they’re feeling.
I know they say, “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself”, but this isn’t 1984. Accept your mental illness, embrace it, and tell the world. Critics will be critics, but you’re the one they’re writing about. Make it a good article.