Starting the Conversation About Mental Illness

After a diagnosis of a mental illness, most people probably start by telling their close friends and family. (I am making an assumption here.) I struggled for a month to figure out where to even begin. I didn’t tell anyone. Not because I was ashamed or embarrassed. Just because I really didn’t know how to even bring it up.
I also live over 3,000km away from my parents, have no siblings, and don’t have a lot of close friends, especially where I currently live. All of these things were contributing factors to my more recent struggles, which ultimately lead to my diagnosis.
I am heavily involved in technology and social media. I am a web developer. I spend the majority of my time online. Its just what I do. It is who I am. I’m also fairly emotional when I talk about personal things verbally, but I also often struggle to find the right words to explain things. This made it particularly difficult for me to figure out how to tell people about my diagnosis. I know if I told someone, or began talking about it verbally, I would cry. Didn’t matter who I told, guaranteed, I would cry. I cried in the doctors office when I was diagnosed (mostly before he told me what was wrong with me, once he told me, it was like, oh, that’s what it is).
I decided that the only way I was going to be able to do it, was to put it in writing, and going along with my personality, posting it on social media. This was before I decided to start this blog, and the best place I thought I could do it at the time was on my Tumblr account. I then shared the post to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I later posted something on Instagram as well.
This method was a deeply personal decision, and is definitely not the correct choice for everyone, but it worked for me. It got the conversation started, and I’ve since been able to talk to my parents about it over video chat (still difficult to find the right words, and I get extremely anxious when I do talk about it) and have had a few friends and family members send me private messages talking about their experiences. People I didn’t know were struggling with the same things as me came forward and shared with me and offered to help me if I needed to talk. It was so comforting to have that.

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