Saturday, January 7, 2012

Off-Topic: Mental Illness

Hi guys.  So I don't normally talk about this, which puts me in the majority, as most people back away from this subject.  My silence comes not from discomfort, but an actual lack of language: I literally cannot find the words to talk generally about mental illness -- depression, bipolar disorder, et cetera ad infinitum -- because it affects me so specifically.  I'll not go into detail here, but I find that if I'm frank about the manifestation of my mood disorder or about my suicide attempts (yes, multiple, but I like to think I'm done now), it's much more alarming for the other participants in the conversation than it is for me.  They tend to shut down and nervously change topics; after all, it's lived in my brain for years, I can't possibly be shocked by it, but it's not something typically discussed in mixed company.  However...

However.  In the last three months or so, there have been some important blog posts written by one or two very brave people on this subject.  Their writings (and drawings) affected me deeply, in much the same way that F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up or Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper had years before.  And the responses they've gotten to their posts serve to remind us just how many people are touched by this.  As more people open up, the shame spiral that surrounds this disease dissipates and transforms into communal healing.

Jenny Lawson's proposal of wearing silver awareness ribbons is just one way people can break the silence in their everyday lives; the #silverribbons Twitter campaign is happening now, but we can't let it die down.  If the battle with mental illness affects you or someone you love, please know you're not alone.

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