This week has held two very important events directly relevant to my life, and… I never had a chance to speak about them.
The truth is, on these days I wasn’t feeling too fabulous, so I really had to prioritise my spoons, physically and emotionally, but these were also too important to me to simply overlook.
Wednesday 10th October- Mental Health Awareness Day
Thursday 11th October- National Coming Out Day
In this case, I’m going to talk about the latter first because… this year marks my first ‘National Coming Out Day’, out. Crazy, right?
National Coming Out Day
Not being ‘out’ has been, for a few years, a bit strange- to me and to others. I find that the internet provides a whole new environment for everything and it’s easy to, for example, be out on here but harder in the real world. I would hardly say my online presence is one that appears to be straight, and that has been the case for over a year… but, online, it’s easy to press the ‘block’ button and restrict certain people from reading certain things, which means I have, luckily been able to express my LGBTQ+ identity before this year online, but now… I can do so unashamed. I’m out on Facebook, my parents know I’m not just in a heterosexual tick box, and my family have even met my beautiful girlfriend.
This year’s National Coming Out Day meant more to me than one could imagine; It’s my first year out, for starters, but most importantly I can celebrate how damn happy I am… to everyone.
For the first time, I am completely, unabashedly in love, and mostly, happy beyond belief. For the first time, I am extremely happy and can see a future, a damn amazing future I can look forward to.
Personally, I found coming out pretty liberating. I can celebrate my girlfriend so openly now and as a very emotional person, that’s important to me. Though I know a lot of people adapt views when they are directly influenced by them, I never thought my mother would say she’s happy for me in the way she has done, just yesterday, even. She told me she’s not seen me so happy ever and thought it took some ‘getting used to’, my happiness is all that matters; Considering we don’t hugely get along, that means a lot to me.
So, this year I’m celebrating being out.
This year, I’m celebrating my happiness; My beautiful girlfriend.
This year, I’m celebrating my queer identity and all I’ve gained from it, including realising who I am, who I love and the fluidity of gender*.
*I go by she/they pronouns and best identify as ‘queer’ re: sexuality and gender. I also do drag as a form of gender expression which you can see over here
If you would like to check out my drag, I’m going to link my drag Instagram here:
Coming out is very situational, though. Even if you feel safe, you don’t have to come out. It is something that needs to be done in your own time and your own way. So stand your ground and be who you are, love who you are, but remember you are you, not the next along.
I also would like to emphasise that if anyone reading this would like someone to talk to about sexuality or coming out, I’m here. Feel free to drop me an email, tweet, Instagram DM… whatever you so wish!
Mental Health Awareness Day
Usually, I post on the day… but this year I didn’t. Ironically, I didn’t post due to having a lack of spoons. The Spoon Theory is usually something I relate more so to my physical illnesses but it is just as valid when mental health bogs you down… especially for those of us with less spoons in the drawer to begin with. I also feel like, even now, my state of being is a preventative from writing something overly emotional and directly relevant to me and my own suffering. I have in the past written about it, and will continue to, however my approach today is in regards to another, more general issue.
Support all mental illnesses.
I’ve seen a lot of people going around preaching Mental Health Awareness, be it that they suffer from mental health issues themselves or not, but the same people are quick to use derogatory terms or… well.. lack understanding for anything dissimilar to what they’re ‘familiar’ or ‘comfortable’ with. This could mean they use ableist words, either to directly slate and individual and their state of being, or to offhand describe someone or something in those terms, but really? None of these situations are needed, nor of course wanted by mental health advocates and us sufferers as a community.
A lot of people are willing to ‘break the stigma’ until they’re asked to defend someone with psychotic symptoms. Why are they seen as less valid or something to demonise?
So, I urge you to support all mental health issues, and working on the break of stigma and getting help. Support those with depressive disorder. Support those with anxiety disorders. Support those with eating disorders, and that doesn’t just mean in a form we are presented with someone stereotypical to an ED where they’re underweight. Support people with personality disorders. Support those with maniac disorders and psychotic symptoms. The list is endless of the many boxes people may self-define, or have been put in by medical professionals due to diagnosis.
Personally, I have been the result of discrimination due to this stigma being around certain illnesses. As someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder, even professionals will stigmatise you. Many will refuse to treat you or give you little time of day due to a fear society has engrained in people… which can just make things worse. It’s also something that, as a result of this, I find difficult to talk about with those closest to me. And this is just the start of it. If you’d like to read more on this, I did speak about BPD and care issues in a previous blog post.
What needs to be remembered is that we are all human, we are all individual people and not defined by our illnesses. Your psychosis is not the same as you, and being treated for it is really the only way to keep it ‘under control’ for want of a better phrase.
My main point is that there should not be any mental health stigma and we should be helping as a community, not further hindering our brothers, sisters and enby pals. Support recovery and fight the stigma of all mental illnesses.
I’d like to think if you were to summarise what you’ve got out of this post in a word, it would be this: VALIDITY.
You are all valid, so, so valid.