I can totally understand why people want to keep the fact that they have a mental health issue private and that is their prerogative. But the reason why we keep it private is important. There are places where you can reach out for help safely and confidentially*. Shame is too often the reason why people feel they can’t tell anyone and when you see how society in general reacts to mental illness, can we blame people for not opening up? Having nowhere to turn is a desperately lonely position to be in.
My experience is that every single one of us has been affected by mental illness. Whether it’s because we have been diagnosed with a mental health issue or a friend or loved one has, or maybe we haven’t been diagnosed with anything but we know that our mental health could be better.
The husband of Carolyn Spring, who is a counsellor, says she is the one of the sanest people he knows. Carolyn has dissociative identity disorder after suffering the most horrific ritual abuse in her childhood. In my experience the sanest people don’t pretend they have it all together, they’re not perfect and they also know that reaching out for help, to the right people, is one of the most courageous things they can do.
*The caveat to total confidentiality is if you are in danger of hurting others, everyone is obliged to report this. If you are in danger of hurting yourself, an immediate action plan should be put in place to keep you safe.