Why I’m “Out” as a Person with Mental Illness

30 May

I just came “out” with my mental illness with my LGBT group. I’m not sure how it was received and my anxiety and low self esteem tell me it was pointless. But I have came out to other LGBT friends and people often ask me for advice or tell me their stories. That’s something, that’s helping.

Let's Queer Things Up!

This piece was originally published at The Body Is Not An Apology.

The image features the author, SDF, smilling at the camera. He is an androgynous white person wearing large, round glasses and a striped t-shirt.Out and proud!

Far and away, the most frequently asked question I receive as a writer with bipolar and anxiety is, “How did you get to a place where you could be this open about your struggles?”

It’s usually followed with a question like, “Aren’t you scared?”

I used to be terrified. Like many folks with a mental illness, one of the first things we’re told is to keep it to ourselves. At times, I existed in a cloud of shame that followed me around wherever I went.

But that’s just it – that’s exactly why I came out and became such a vocal advocate for my community. It’s because of that shame that I started talking about what I had been through. I was tired of feeling afraid, tired of feeling ashamed, and tired of seeing…

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One Response to “Why I’m “Out” as a Person with Mental Illness”

  1. wildero64 June 3, 2015 at 9:05 PM #

    Coming out about yourself regarding stigmatized issues is tough, but I believe it’s very important. To the person coming out it tends to help lift weight off their shoulders and make them more self-accepting, it can feel really good, especially if you can connect with others who are understanding. It’s also important for everyone affected by the same issues because people see that these conditions are attached to real people that they know and changes attitudes. It also helps others feel comfortable about coming out. These are reasons why I choose to be out (even online) about being gay, a former drug addict and having a criminal record for it, among other things. I’ve seen people have huge impacts by choosing to be out about their issues. I’ll try to make a post about a specific great example in the future, thanks for the food for thought. 🙂

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