It is so hard to accurately describe the terrible darkness that comes with mental illness to someone who is unfamiliar with it. Even here, I feel like too often I sugar coat the darkness, afraid of being honest about my own demons.
Part of this is that some of my darkness, part of my story, involves other people, people whose story isn’t necessarily mine to tell. And even the portion of it that is mine to tell makes me feel guilty because no one person is entirely a villain or entirely a hero. Yet all of us sometimes do some damage to others and it is hard for me to talk about that honestly without feeling like I am attacking certain people in my life.
And then begins the impostor syndrome, feeling like I am not being accurate about discussing my mental illness. And this in turn makes me think I’m not even qualified to talk about mental illness because others have it so much worse, even though I also know that having anxiety over not being mentally ill enough to talk about mental illness is a pretty good sign that yes, this is something I can authentically speak about. Having to have someone physically sit on top of me to force me to calm down while having a panic attack, which has happened, is a pretty good sign that I can speak authentically about this.
Or else I feel like I will be judged and vilified if I am honest about the summer I tried to self-medicate with alcohol, not caring at all about what happened to me. I feel like I will scare people away if I talk about the passive suicidal ideation I experienced.
And honestly, mental illness is so damn good at isolating me to begin with, why would I make that worse.
And the answer is because it gets better. And I hope that I am able to find to courage to be better on this blog, to speak more honestly and less filtered about the darkness. Because it is so fucking important that we start talking. Because the more we talk, the more others who are currently stuck in the darkness know that they are not alone. The more we talk, the less the stigma grows. The more we talk about it, the more lives we might be able to save.
Because accurately capturing the darkness sometimes prevents it from capturing us, from sucking us down, from dragging us to a place where our own brains try to kill us.
And taking that power away from the darkness, that ain’t nothing.