Tuesday, September 14, 2010

That's Right, I Said It

Since I published this a few days back, I've had a few people ask me more or less the same question: aren't you worried/concerned/afraid that friends/family/potential employers/future love interests will judge you based on it?

I have two entirely uncontradictory answers to that question: Hell yes, and hell no.

Yes, of course I'm afraid of being judged. I don't really know anyone who particularly enjoys it. I certainly don't like the idea of revealing vulnerable pieces of myself to the world only to have people turn up their noses and decide, "She's a lesser person for thinking, feeling or doing _______."

But another part of me says, "Screw them." In my extended circle of friends and acquaintances, I know people who have wrestled with severe post partum depression, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, and both chronic and short-term depression. And while every person's experience is unique, there is usually one common denominator: they feel alone in their experience. Mental health issues can be profoundly isolating, and social stigma only compounds that sense of loneliness. I've been lucky enough to have extremely supportive family and friends, and over the years I've learned how to (more or less) manage my own issues. In a way, I feel some kind of responsibility to talk about my own experience, if for no other reason than so that other people don't feel quite so alone in theirs.

So no, I'm not all that afraid of being judged by friends, family, potential employers or future love interests. This is part of who I am. I'm open about it, and more importantly, I don't think it's something to be ashamed of.  And quite frankly, if someone is going to judge me harshly for talking openly about this part of my life, then they probably aren't the right confidante, employer or boyfriend for me.

Also: they can suck it.


Unknown said...

You're right, you shouldn't be ashamed of your experiences with depression and suicide. Those who care about you will stand by your side through the good times AND the bad. You don't want to associate with someone who does judge you, especially for things that are beyond your control.

LPC said...

Life is too short to try and hide something that important.

Amy in Austin said...

Suck it! is right. You're amazing.

fortunecookiejunkie said...

Suck it, Jesus! (a la Kathy Griffin)

<3 you!

Jess said...

I understand your feeling of responsibility to talk about what you went through so others don't feel so alone. The stigma around mental illness makes it so terrible from people thinking you're doing it for attention, or you're making it up, or that it doesn't exist at all. I think it's a lot harder to ask for help (especially since once of my symptoms is an inability to ask for help) when you can't really know who may be understanding or dismissive. It's good that you're honest and willing to share your experience with it all. I feel like it's helped my friends that I share my experience and I'm sure you're helping people sharing yours.

And, of course, I was introduced to you because you're good at your job and so far, I think you're also pretty good at the Internet so you shouldn't let yourself get you down.

Katherine said...


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