Shit might be about to get a bit heavy, so I’m prefacing this post with a picture of Alison, a fish I won at the fair.
Anyways… as some of you already know, I suffer from mental health issues. I’ve mostly been super secretive about it (for reasons I’ll tell you about another time), but for a while now, I’ve had some amazing support off a great friend, and lately, I’ve been feeling brave enough to talk about it — I hesitated to type that. It still feels weird/awkward/uncomfortable to call myself brave. Anyways, more than brave, I’ve started to realise how let down by people I feel. Not all people. Not even most people. But there are some, and it just so happens that this ‘some’ have the loudest fucking voices when it comes to perpetuating stigma. They hear mental illness and herd all sufferers into the same stocks to be pelted with rotten half truths and rancid generalisations.
Honestly, I am so sick of people who have never even met me, weighing up my character based on this one episode of Criminal Minds.
You don’t get to hear about Joe Nobody in the media. You don’t get to hear that, inspite of his crippling depression and advanced OCD, he got dressed today, smiled for the first time in weeks and didn’t rage-stab a single soul.
Moving on… *breathes*
Enough doom and gloom. Some people can be total dicks. This is not news. But the whole Stamp Out The Stigma movement got me thinking. You see, a huge part of my mental illness is about fear. I am afraid of some very obscure things. Not just freaked out. I’m talking honest-to-god-afraid that an encounter with a brass door knob could lead to a case of the black death. Okay. So my head takes it to the extreme. But it hasn’t always. This is something that grew and got stronger.
Fears and phobias, are one of those things that can’t easily be cured or explained away, but ultimately the goal is to make your own brain believe something other than what it’s already concluded, right? Imagine that, this thing that is yours, that you’ve nurtured and been convinced you can control, has somehow managed to trick you into believing a harmless spider is something you should fear, and yet, it keeps you feeling confident while you’re cruising down a busy freeway. It makes no sense, sure. But it is a thing that is so common, most of us never give it a second thought.
So, to business. I wanted to start a blog series that reminded people how common fear is, how easy it is to succumb to, how much it impacts lives and how it’s always valid, whether you’re afraid of a butterfly or a bear. I wanted to outline that nothing is ever as simple as he/she is crazy. I wanted to poke at the soul of the skeptics and ask them what they’re afraid of and why.
About a week ago, I asked my lovely friends on Twitter if they’d be willing to share some fear stories in the next week or two, and I’m so happy to say I got an amazing response from some very brave folks.
I’m hoping to start posting our stories within a couple of weeks. I’m also hoping that you guys will help us pass these stories around. If we could teach just one person that you cannot simplify how someone’s mind works, well, I think we’d be beyond happy about that.
(Please note: if you want be a part of our project #TalkFear, just drop me an email via the contact form.)