Yes, I understand that potential impact of a title like “Coming Out” but bear with me for a few minutes. And, no, I am not making a post professing any sexual orientation or perspective. It will all make sense in a few more lines.
So, tomorrow in Canada, January 30, 2019, is Bel’sl #BellLetsTalk campaign. For those not in Canada, Bell Media is one of the largest entertainment and communication companies in Canada and every year, they set aside one day in which post, tweets, text, etc that carry the hashtag, #BellLetsTalk, result in a $0.05 donation for every hashtag to Mental Health programs in Canada. It is a huge step in the right direction to de-stigmatize Mental Illness and also a pretty good fundraising idea to boot. The most important part of this campaign has been the strategic use of celebrities to tell their stories and the struggles they have faced in overcoming their own mental illnesses.
This is big in the battle. So, why I am writing about it. Well, I fully believe that one of the reasons that I have come out and openly discussed by diagnosis of PTSD and Depression has been because of the #BellLetsTalk campaign. It has opened the door to start the process of normalizing mental illness and making it like any other ailment that people have. So, yeah, I have a mental illness, deal with it.
But to be honest, the #BellLetsTalk campaign has also had a weird affect on me. When I first started seeing the commercials for this year’s campaign, I would get upset and sad because it made me realize that they were targeting me. Then, I started to get really pissed off at the commercials because they were targeting me (Logically illogical PTSD brain). It was in these moments of anger that I truly began to realize and accept that “I SUFFER FROM A MENTAL ILLNESS!”
It is hard to accept that your life will forever be different as you see things very differently now but that’s why this is a journey. The ending hasn’t been written so I have the power to dictate exactly how things go, provided I keep myself on the right path, pick myself up when I fail or trip and rely and trust the people I consider my supports. And, most importantly, stand up and proudly acknowledge that I am living with a mental illness that is the result of my service to my country. Something that I am proud to do and would not change for the world, even though this isn’t the result I was hoping for.
But, as I said in a forum the other day, “if me being open and up front about my struggles with PTSD and Depression causes me to be subjected to the stigma of mental illness and treated different, I will gladly take it on if coming out about it helps one other person step away from the darkness.”