A Secret Community; The Power of Transparency

As some of you know, last week I had what was, for me, a rather significant falling apart. It didn’t come all at once and there wasn’t much of a public showdown, but it was powerful and awful and very scary. It was an emotional break several weeks in the making while I ignored red flags and stuffed feelings down instead of exploring them.

Despite my being newly off of mood stabilizing medications and reaching out to my doctor for an emergency appointment, he was unable to see me for one very long week.

This week helped cement for me, yet again, the power and impact of transparent community. Once more, because I decided to step out from the shadow of the stigma attached to mental illness, a community of people who love and support me was aware there was an issue and was able to step in to offer support, companionship, and understanding.

One moment, in particular, stands out for me. A passing comment, nothing more than a shrugging confession. A woman I admire greatly for a great number of reasons (which I won’t share in hopes of preserving her anonymity should that be her desire) said to me in a passing moment, with no self-pity or attention seeking whatsoever, “Today I laid on the living room floor for two hours and stared at the ceiling.” When I stared at her in surprise she shrugged and said, “You know, sometimes you get depressed.” And we both moved on with our day.

The power of that statement came back to me repeatedly throughout the week, reminding me that I was not alone in feeling this way; that even those for whom there is great admiration sometimes just stare at their ceilings.

I continue to hope that those of you who struggle with mental illness of any and every kind will reach out to your community. It feels as though you will be met with blank stares and awkward silences. I can almost guarantee you, you will be amazed by the truth; the truth of how many people have walked where you walk and have experienced, at least on some level, what you are experiencing. If we can just be brave enough to step out of the shadow of stigma, we open ourselves to a beautiful and connected community of people who are ready, willing and *able* to offer genuine understanding and support.

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