You probably have gathered that I really don’t care who knows I’m bipolar, seeing that I run a blog that is mostly on mental health. I’m not just open online though, I talk about it in person too. While I’m a firm believer that your mental illness isn’t the most interesting thing about you and you should never frame your identity around it, I also believe that it’s important to be able to talk about your illness.
- You get to celebrate in public: When you’re doing well you get to talk about it. When you have weird mental illness victories you get to talk about them openly instead of thinking “I shouldn’t even have to aim for this”. You get to share your prides and have people support you at a much deeper level.
- You become desensitized: One of my first posts on mental illness was on the fact that I think bipolar jokes are funny- my personal favorite being “North Carolina’s weather is more bipolar than I am, and that’s saying something”. A lot of people disagreed with me, which is fine, to each their own, but I think the fact that I talk about my illness, the fact that I know I get a little crazy and those I love know and love me despite of my disorder, has made me immune to any sting those jokes might carry.
- You get a higher level of support: This goes with the first point, when you suffer you can be honest about it. Being honest about suffering helps people know how and why you need support. It also makes it harder to self sabotage and isolate yourself when people know to look out for you.
- It makes it easier to support others: Since I’m open about my illness people feel like they can be open to me about theirs, even people who don’t talk about theirs with anyone else. It’s given me the honor of being about to help people and make them feel less alone! This is honestly one of the best things about being open, it helps form community.
- You help destigmatize your illness: Yes! Talking about your mental illness makes it seem normal because- well it is normal, it just doesn’t seem normal because people keep it bottled up. The less you treat something like a secret the less other people will. It opens up a whole new world.