I realised something this evening. I know I've mentioned a few times now on facebook how I feel that this whole exercise has become something bigger than me, that it's not just about me anymore. I can't quite get my head around the fact that people are reading what I've written, never mind having an active interest in it or recognising exactly what I'm talking about. I'm amazed by how many people have either contacted me or spoken to me in person about their own experience with depression, be that direct or indirect experience, and the relief they've expressed at knowing that they're not the only one. When I say it's not just about me any more, it's these people that I'm talking about, it's everyone who can identify with what I write. I just happen to be the one expressing it.
So what was my realisation tonight? Well I guess it wasn't so much a realisation as recognising a desire. I want to get people talking. I want to help people to stop feeling afraid to admit to something that causes so much difficulty and heartbreak. Talking about mental health has just become part of my life, and part of the lives of those who know me. It's not a big deal any more either for them to ask me how I'm doing, or for me to admit to a bad day. It's not something we talk about constantly either. It's just there, and it's been accepted. I can't actually put into words the difference that has made to me. What I'm wondering is, how can I take it further? What can I do to get this message out there, to help more people realise that what they're going through, while not exactly normal, isn't so very unusual either? I would love to see the stigma around mental illness disappear entirely, although I realise that's a very tall order. In the meantime, I'd like to do everything I possibly can to work towards that end. So, any thoughts?
Labels: depression, mental illness, stigma