I am scared of many things. I hate spiders and their creepy twitchy hairy legs. I hate rabbits and their creepy twitchy whiskers. I am scared of failing my loved ones. I'm scared of elevators. Of not being a good enough person. Of hurting other's feelings to the point of going way out of my way not to seem rude or offensive even though many times it is seen as being weak and it comes back to bite me in the butt. And then I am scared of all the OCD fears that would take up all of this post, and the next post, and the next post.....ect. So you see I have a lot of fears. A lot. There is one thing I am not afraid of. Maybe I was at one time but not now. I am not afraid of talking about mental illness. Specifically my mental illness but also the stigma and discrimination I have dealt with. On this one issue I am totally unafraid.
For eight months, now I have written a blog post everyday except Sundays and Mondays respectively. I have written about bits of my life and my experiences. Never with an excuse or blaming anyone, just a honest open look at myself and my life. I have met so many others like me on this journey. Each post for me is like a therapeutic purge. I type on the pages and let the pain bleed onto them. I have written about my family member's suicide and my mother's attempt when I was ten years old. I have written of my failures and accomplishments. I have written about the abandonment of my real father, the search for my biological brother, and the severe bullying I went through because I was poor and different. I have written about my first marriage which was toxic and abusive and the loss of my unborn child. I have written about stigma and judgment. I have written about my institutionalization in a mental ward as a child and all that happened there, even before I realized I had never told my husband of twelve years because I had "blocked" it out. I have written about my children's struggle with OCD symptoms themselves. I have begged, sobbed, and bled but I have always written.
I have offered up my experiences on the internet sacrificial alter and let others pick and examine it's bones. It is a grisly and yet completely honest display and I am proud of that. I am proud of how far I have come from never speaking about my mental illness except in hushed tones with fear to blatantly discussing it and sharing it with the world. Good or bad. Right or wrong.
It doesn't make me famous. It doesn't make me rich. It does for me the one thing I had never had before. It gives me a voice.
Sometimes my posts are shrouded in humor. Sometimes my posts are rants and sometimes....sometimes my posts are so deep and agonizingly painful that I can not reread them after I have written them. Typos be damned.
I have always been very honest about my life and the things I have done. No, I have not traveled the world or scaled Mount Everest. What I have done may not be the the most interesting or influential things on the planet but I am proud of them. They mean a great deal to someone who before I started all of this was feeling separated and lost from not only others but myself. I own these words that fall from my lips. I own them and I am proud of myself. To suggest that I am scared of reaching into the deep dark depths of myself and pull out the hideous mental illness that has plagued me for thirty years is preposterous. Not only do I pull it out but I have examined and dissected it. I have lived it. I have choked on it.
That picture you see on my google+ profile is the same smiling face on each and every blog post. Yeah, that one right there....that is me. That is my face on my words because I became tired of my mental illness shaming me into seclusion. It is not right for everyone but for me, I had to put my face on my blogs. People that are scared do not broadcast not only their words but also their face to the world.
I am not about to get into a pissing contest with someone because they didn't like something I said or did. I am an adult last time I checked and I don't do pissing contests anymore, sorry.
The issue with me being a positive person is rather simple. I have suffered. I have agonized. I have been numb before. I became a positive person because at one point it became the one thing that saved me when I was scared, alone, and lost. Hope saved me. It was my crutch and I will not apologize for that.
To judge me because I refuse to sit and dwell in a cesspool of rage, anger, resentment, and self loathing and drink it down like a stagnant rotten porridge is insulting. I have dwelled there before and I choose to be different now. I choose to hold onto hope. I choose to be thankful for all the wonderful and beautiful things in my life because at one point I was too lost to see them or I unknowingly threw them away. I refuse to be that way anymore. I deserve to be happy and I am going to do my best to get that way. I had to look at ugly horrid things and work through them to get where I am now. The good of me and the bad of me. I am not perfect and it is a daily struggle but I refuse to be rained down upon or side jabbed because I no longer dwell in a place no one deserves to dwell in, in the first place. If you think that makes me weak or scared then so be it.
People need to know where they stand and so this is me standing and showing you that I am scared of a lot of things but my mental illness isn't one of them. And if you don't believe me then the fact that I have shared 150 public posts and separate guest posts detailing my struggles with mental illness should speak for itself. As should the fact that I have placed my face on each and every one of them.
Just because I refuse to be bitter, harsh, or rude does not make me weak. It makes me polite. Just because I find something dark and disturbing uncomfortable doesn't mean I am afraid of it. It simply means I am no longer willing to dwell in the dark recesses that kept me lost for so long.