I’ve always been ambivalent about blogging. Writing I’ve always done, but in private. I couldn’t really understand blogging–putting innermost thoughts out into the internet seemed like covering yourself in honey and kicking a hornet’s nest. Then I started the process of recovery, a large part of which involved group therapy.
I was afraid of groups at first. I’ve been in and out of therapy for anxiety and panic from a young age, but I’d never been asked personal questions in a group full of people I’d just met. Then I went into the hospital, and it was all groups all day. I was an eighteen year old, and the youngest person in the adult ward of the hospital. I think I was almost silent the entire first day, but not because of the reason you’d expect: I wasn’t afraid, or embarrassed, I was in awe. I was surrounded by people who had experienced and survived more life than I had, and who were speaking about feelings I had no idea other people had: I had found a tribe.
I’m constantly in awe of the amazing people I am able to call friends who I have met through treatment. The things they’ve endured, yes, but more their kindness, strength and softness more so the point.
And why is this on an “about” page? Because they are why I’m writing. Them and my younger self, who came onto the internet asking strangers about why she felt so awful, and found not support and love but diets to help her starve and people helping her hate herself.
Until we talk about the reality of living with mental illness it is going to remain stigmatized. Until people see that they aren’t alone in having shitty, and sometimes what seem like crazy thoughts, there will be people who keep everything stewing inside, rotting and getting worse and more difficult to live with, and deal with, out of fear that those they love and live their lives with will look at them as lesser, or with pity.
I want people to live their lives as open with the struggles of their minds as if they were in group therapy. We shouldn’t need to be locked in a room with each other to realize that everyone has a mind: everyone is on the spectrum of mental health.