I had posted a variation of part of my story on Facebook recently since it was Mental Health Awareness Week, so I thought it fitting to use this as my first foray into blogging.
There's been a lot of talk about how today we can "pretend " it's okay to talk about mental health but "who's listening"? The thing is that most of us were in the not listening group at one point which doesn't negate the importance of the conversation. I first went to therapy in 2007 for issues other than my PTSD which hadn't yet been diagnosed and in my first meeting I was SO turned off when my new counsellor said about one of my experiences "that hurts my heart" I mean who says that?! Over the year she taught me emotional vocabulary which frustrated the hell out of me because I wanted directions. Rules, a path. Do: A, B, then C to get the results you want. I mean, I can follow direction like a MOFO, but the touchy feely vocabulary was NOT my forte!
Lasted a year with her before our sessions were over and felt wrung out. Fast forward 10 years and BAM, full onset of PTSD blindsided me. No idea it was coming. Totally out of commission that first year, can't count the number of times I wanted to complete” for my families sake (so I told myself). Four years later I'm still here and yes its still hard some days and it is way easier MOST of the days. But it's only been in the last 4 years that I've been able to receive the words that counsellor spoke to me in 2007 because it's at this place that I am ready to receive them.
The people you talk to might not be ready for your words. They may scoff and argue, and try to "Yeah, but..." your experiences or your thoughts. However, something I have learned in this process is this. You will never know when the effect of your presence and your words will be felt, so keep showing up. Keep talking about it. You will never know your impact, so you have to keep faith that you are here and have gone through what you have for a reason. I'm not a religious person, at least not in the Christian sense. However, I have seen some of the ripple effects I have made and felt the ripple effects of those that came before me and all I can do is continue to pay it forward by talking about it and trying to create a space where people feel safe in being authentic to themselves around me. I know--its taken a long time to get to a place where I could say something like that and not cringe, but then life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey, right?