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.