This is a post about stigma around mental illness.

When my brother began dating, his new girlfriend found me very eccentric.  (I can be eccentric, and am very quiet).

She asked my brother about me, and he told her how I had depression. He also told her I had been in a hospital.

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I did not know this conversation had taken place until last year.

Stephanie is no longer with my brother, and moved away, but she is still in our lives.

l_2

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The question is:

Why did she accept me when she heard the story?

Why was she always so nice to me?

Why does she still write to me, and send me presents?

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I could answer that Stephanie is a special person, which she is.

Where someone else might discriminate, Stephanie would not.

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I could point out that she was always more mature than anyone else, and that she has always had her feet on the ground.

I could tell you more about Stephanie, and say that this explains why she always was friendly to me.

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All of the above would be true.

Or is it because my brother was open?

Is this the answer?

Should we be open about our experiences?

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It is so hard to know, and I do not have any answers.

Telling someone could backfire, or make our lives easier.

treepoem

 

 

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2 thoughts on “

  1. I can see that I am the only one commenting, but I am absolutely charmed by your posts. You explain Depression in such a remarkable way. Please accept my comments as my compliments to you – eccentric or not, you have a unique way of expressing yourself and it is very moving and illuminating too. You explain complex themes like Depression, Mental illness, Stigma, emotional abuse and other things with such concreteness and clarity. I keep thinking that your posts could make a book, perhaps a book for Children but not only because your language – so simple and concise – speaks to adults too. I am 40 :).
    As for your questions in this post: you nailed it. Sometimes you open up and it backfires. Sometimes you open up and you win. It’s sometimes hard to tell when it’s ok to share. You may not have the sensitivity to understand when it is and when it’s better not to. It is sometimes a question of learning through experience. There are a lot of people who do not understand and never will, they have their own limits, but there are also a lot of people who have a lot of empathy, some are even drawn to people who are different or more fragile in one or another .. often because they understand your fragility, because in some ways, they are or have been fragile too.
    You are very lucky to have a loving family around you. please know that outside you can be appreciated too. I appreciate you very much, as you can tell from my comments. 🙂

    Like

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