Life out of the closet

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Since going public with my dysthymia and depression, a few different people have asked me a variation of the same question,

“But _____ reads your blog, are you sure you want them to know?”

Sure, I could have just come out of my mental health closet to anonymous readers who I’ll never meet face to face. Perhaps my story might help a young reader who feels like they are currently going through something similar – that would be fantastic – but it wouldn’t serve to break down the barriers which I’ve spent so many years building.

Yes, people at work read my blog. (Hi peeps!)

Yes, parents of my children’s friends read my blog. (See ya tomorrow on the playground!)

Yes, my neighbours read my blog. (Can I borrow a cup of sugar?)

The honest admissions that I’ve made are about changing the perceptions that society holds about depressed people. I have an illness but that doesn’t define who I am.

I’m an involved and active mother.

I’m a wife in a loving and happy marriage.

I volunteer on committees and host playdates.

I’m a member of a book club and a writing group.

I’m a productive and sociable co-worker.

I’ve acted in plays and sung in musicals.

I’m a healthcare worker who loves to help others.

Sure, there may be times when I mope around in stained sweat clothes and eat chocolate… but who doesn’t? My depression doesn’t usually manifest itself outwardly because I have spent years and years building a life in spite of my illness.

Sometimes, when things get to be a little too much, I may falter. Perhaps I won’t return your phone call right away, or I’ll beg out of a social gathering that I promised to attend. Maybe I’ll look a little extra tired and run down because I’m having trouble sleeping. There are times when my depression gets the better of me, but that doesn’t change who I am.

So, to answer the question… Yes, I want the people who I know in real life to read about my depression.

That was the whole point.

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34 responses to “Life out of the closet

  1. This beautifully articulates someone is more than a mental illness diagnosis. There are many parts to an individual. Sharing your story will have a positive influence in educating many. Thank you for sharing this and remaining authentically you.

  2. Love this. BTW, I read your latest post, your last post, and this post. I have never read three posts in a row from anyone. You write, “Perhaps my story might help a young reader who feels like they are currently going through something similar”. I’m not that young, but your posts help me. You have a way of being open without “vomiting” all over the place with your writing.

  3. Reading blogs of others who are open and honest is something of an inspiration to me. The fear of people IRL reading my blog is very real to me, so there is so much I would like to share, so many topics surrounding mental health I would like to talk about…but I don’t. I know my father has found my blog and reads it. So does my MIL. So do my co-workers (and bosses). Mostly though, it’s my dad. And mom. There are so many things they don’t know…and knowing would break their heart. It’s a bit of a conundrum for me. (also, it’s not as if I’m a teen, I’m in my 30’s). As I said though, seeing others being so open…it does help. It’s also sometimes easier for us with mental illness to communicate in writing – for me it doesn’t get all jumbled and I’m able to be clear and emotional without being distraught.

    • I do draw the “openness” line at anything which might hurt someone else. My family has been a part of everything that I’ve revealed and would never have blindsided them with any surprises… I just don’t think that is fair.
      You have an excellent point about it being easier to write about things than speak about them. When you write, you are in much better control. This control is what has made these blogs possible.
      Thanks for the great comment. 🙂

  4. Loved this. Well done you !!!

  5. Im proud of you! I think we all feel like that a time or two, but its supposed to be hush hush. If you are outward with it you may seem weak to others. I disagree! Maybe if more people were like you, women around the world could help each other instead!:)

  6. Cool to think of it that way.
    I suppose the reasons I keep my blog a “secret” are a.) I’m incredibly conscious and just don’t know how I’d feel about others knowing how I feel all the time (weird how strangers feel more accepting than people I know) and b.) I don’t want to be writing for anyone. I like knowing that I’m writing without any consideration of how x will think of me, or whether it will impress y or hurt z’s feelings. This way I can write completely honestly.
    I suppose there’s no one way to be honest or one way to be open. To each his own!

    • I definitely think there is a time and place for complete anonymity, I’ve just made the choice that I want my friends IRL to know what’s going on with me. I think it is great that you are choosing to blog the way you are – freedom leads to great things! Thanks for taking the time to leave such a great comment. 🙂

  7. prissymommy0129

    Reblogged this on SillyBear.

  8. Thank you for such an inspiring post – I too have the same illness, and I hope it doesn’t define the entirety of who I am, either. For years I kept silent about my ongoing struggle, but coming out of a recent bad depressive episode and having just turned 50, I’m tired of hiding my reality from the world, so am newly out of the closet. I too have a life as well as depression, and that’s why I’ve started blogging about my ongoing journey. I want people to see that yes, there is difficulty and despair, but there is also love and laughter. I write under a pseudonym but my friends and family all know it’s me, I just find it easier that way. I’m still in the process of learning not to care what other people think, so I’m still very much a work in progress, but I hope to get there someday!.

    • We are all works in progress and all progress is good. Being able to talk and write about things is a sign that you are moving towards better health, be it anonymous or not. Thank you so much for reading. Hugs.

  9. I know how that feel kind of my first blog I did consisted of me talking about my parents divorce. I didn’t care who read it the point was for me to get it out there. I even put up a link on my facebook for people I knew to click and view it.

  10. I’m proud of you honey!

  11. Kudos to you, ma’am. Carry on as you are.

  12. And those who love and appreciate you will continue to do so, even in sweats!

  13. haha.. that was why I started this blog, too! I felt that to bring around awareness with the everyday people, it must start with me! 🙂

  14. I get this. When I first decided to blog, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to worry about who read it. I didn’t TRY to get my family to read it, but eventually they figured it out and passed it along to distant cousins and people I haven’t seen in years. My mom reads it. My MIL reads it (or at least I think she does). People I’ve met in a new place can read it if they want to.
    I don’t suffer from depression any more, although I did when I was younger and it runs in my family. But I have a lot of complicated emotions and I don’t censor myself too much when I write. Some, but I try to be honest because to me that’s the whole point of blogging. And it is freeing, to stop caring what people think, to let yourself be who you are. I think the world would be a better place if more people were honest and open with others.

    • I agree, Miriam. I draw the line at posting anything that might be hurtful or too embarrassing to a third party, and I try to keep my family as anonymous as possible, but I agree that honesty is the point of blogging. Thanks for such a great comment.

  15. NotAPunkRocker

    Some of my friends read my blog on occasion, but I can’t get to where I am able to let everyone know all I share semi-anonymously.

    Good for you for being open and helping to break the stigma. I hope to be completely open, offline, one day soon.

    • Obviously, being honest and open on-line is easier than off-line… for me as well as my friends IRL. I think people would prefer to read my story and have time to digest it, rather than me sitting them down and spilling my guts. Blogging is a controlled openness that allows all parties to move at their own speed.

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