This post will be a free-flow way for me to disseminate my thoughts, as I have little idea what the end conclusion will be.
Since writing my last post There Is More To My Story, I have been thinking about my relationships with the people close to me, specifically, what I choose to reveal to them. I was also chatting with another blogger, Fictionatrix, in response to her post Late Night Thoughts – Who Am I? Some of her words struck a chord with what was going through my mind.
As mentioned in my last post, I just got a new set of tattoos. They are on my wrists, so they are quite visible, and I not one with a lot of tattoos. I’ve got a large one on my back, that’s it, but people don’t tend to see it. Hardly anyone in my support network have tattoos, and I know that they will ask me what my tattoo means. The tattoos aren’t “pretty” or superficial, and those close to me will know that there is some significance to me. I tend not to do things lightly. I don’t want to lie or give a half-truth in reply. I care and respect them and it would make me feel incongruent. I am feeling fear and shame right now.
There is a certain freedom with writing a personal blog. I can write what ever I want, be raw, be imperfect, and without the risk of worried and concerned looks from the ones that I love. Only very close friends know of my blog, sometimes even read it. My family knows that I blog (if they even know what that is) but they don’t know the site address. But even with my friends that read my blog, I only sometimes tell them the full depth of my thoughts.
Sometimes, the act of writing is a medium for me to clarify or articulate my thoughts and feelings. So, when I talk with my close friends, I have trouble articulating my feelings. Though I do censor myself sometimes, as a defence mechanism. I omit the full truth, revealing only the details that I feel comfortable with. A week prior to my tattoo appointment, I was talking to my friends about my concept. I told them about the semicolon concept and how I hope that it will remind me that there is more to my story, to keep going. That’s all the detail that I shared. I suppose I alluded to it, but I didn’t tell them that sometimes I used to have suicidal ideation or thoughts of self harm. That when I did, my mind would focus on my wrists … Even though the purpose of telling them is that this tattoo, I hope, will help me if I have those thoughts again.
I feel fear and shame when I think of sharing these less than happy experiences with those close to me, though it is okay with strangers. I fear their disappointment of me. The shame of making them worried, anxious or sad because of me. I feel shame that I have made them feel helpless. I feel shame because I have caused them trouble.
I realise that these feelings of fear and shame are my projections on those close to me. In a way, I am the one disappointed of me, I feel that I am not worthy of being troubled, worried or sad over. That I am not worthy … It is unfair to have these projections on those close to me. They have not had the chance to respond. I don’t know how they will respond. I am probably wrong.
I’m a bit of a hypocrite too. I’ve been sort of vocal on the issue of mental illness stigma. I’ve come out about my mental illness to my circles. But I generally talk about it in intellectual or social justice/impact terms. Another defence mechanism: intellectualisation. I’ve not had the courage to share the rawness of my experiences. But the questions about my tattoo will come. I have a life mission that I created as part of the work I do with a support group. “I create family by being enough.” I’m not being congruent to my mission.
I think that I will start with a Facebook post about my last post on my tattoo. I only have good people on my Facebook list. I will try to tell my story to those close to me. Though I think it is still wise to be careful with people in my physical life that I don’t trust yet. There still is a stigma, but I will try to feel safe with those I have chosen to be close to.
Just stumbled across this, opening up to people can be one of the hardest things. I know you said you’ve opened up to some, but theres still things you find hard to talk about. The stigma is still very real, and with me, personally, having fought depression for a decade almost I know what its like to hide instead. Because no one talks about these things enough so it must not be a big deal right? I can handle it myself then. But I held it in too long until I mentally broke, and asking for help them made me realize I did sooner. Not saying you need to ask for help, just saying I know how hard it can be to talk to people about this stuff. When I started to, I realized a lot of people weren’t meant to be in my life, and it hurt at first, but now I’m better off for it. And I have a great support group now and friends who really care. I hope you can reach that point of comfort through this blogging and with those people in your life who love you. Keep fighting the fight friend. You’re not alone and you are loved.
I run a blog on mental illness called “Dear Hope”. join the community here: wemustbebroken.wordpress.com
Thanks for your words Paul. I’m glad that there are others speaking out. I’ll check out your site.
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