It has been a dream and an ambition of mine to begin a blog. I have finally done so in the past few weeks. Signing up on WordPress ignited an elation and sense of accomplishment within me, and I reveled in the joy of finally realizing a longterm goal of mine. Such joy and elation should have been quite the impetus to begin posting right away, sharing my thoughts and emotions with a sense of urgency and determination, right? No. Quite the opposite, in fact. Within me brewed such hesitancy, and my newfound bravery wavered. How could such determination dissipate with rapidity to be replaced by fear?
Perhaps what comes into play in my hesitancy is the rampant stigma surrounding mental illness in our society. Yes, it certainly exists, and with such a ferocity that deeply ravages and makes difficult the lives of those suffering from mental illness. I have been open about my diagnosis – Bipolar 1 Mixed – with some people and institutions in my life while desperately shielding and hiding it from others. How do I decide with whom I will share my diagnosis? The answer rests in two factors – necessity and deep trust. I must share my diagnosis with schools in order to survive academic life while fighting to not succumb to a tragic and life-threatening illness. And then there are those I trust with such depth that I am comfortable in sharing such a private component of my life. Disclosing suffering from a mental illness is a difficult, important, and necessary action to contemplate for all of those afflicted by mental illness. I have suffered on many occasions the effects of stigma, and it certainly is an unpleasant and dehumanizing experience.
Opening myself to this blog, sharing my experiences of madness and a lifetime of instability, is another step of disclosure in my life. I am sharing my diagnosis and experiences with my friends, my community, and the world. The contemplation of with whom and whom I will not disclose my mental illness to is no longer relevant. This is, in fact, quite a terrifying thought. I am relinquishing my control and decision to disclose my illness to the tangled world that is the Internet. So you can see my hesitancy in beginning this blog. I realize that this can be an important tool in raising awareness of mental illness and issues affecting society, an important tool in reaching out and providing support to others experiencing mental illness, and also an opportunity for growth and catharsis for myself. Hopefully I can once again muster my initial excitation and bravery and continue to post in this blog. Such is my ardent intent.