I ran a poll on Revolving of Doors Twitter Page asking if talking about mental health symptoms is a way to seek out attention for your disorder. I received 89% of the votes for ‘NO’ but if so many people think it is not a way to seek attention…then why do we get so easily offended when we hear about these things?
Creditable psychiatric associations such as ‘The World Health Organization‘ have come out with boundaries on how share your mental health journey, along with trigger warnings, and supervision. This is a responsible outlook on mental health advocacy because – as many of us already know, those who suffer from mental illness often become triggered easily. They can relapse or act on impulses when they experience the symptoms of someone else that is like theirs. When I was a young advocate and only sixteen years old – my family worried I shared “too much” information about my personal journey through Borderline Personality Disorder. I was easily offended at the time and would shut down every conversation that raised from how much I share. However, throughout the past six years I have learned how to properly share my journey without triggering others.
If you are having symptoms from your mental health disorder – it’s ok to share them! If you have cancer you are a hero for receiving chemotherapy, but as soon as you share that you receive treatment such as medication or methadone for your mental illness – you are a disappointment to society. What is the real reason behind this? Ignorance.
As soon as you step into another’s shoes, you start to see things from their point of view. No matter your view on anything in modern society – it can shift once seen from all angles. Such as how I shifted on methadone. I personally think it is heroic for someone to receive a taper off methadone if they are suffering from addiction. These people cannot quit cold-turkey because they could go into shock and die. I don’t get offended when someone tweets about their experience of tapering off methadone. Just like how I don’t get offended when I see (as I call them) “battle scars”, or when people don’t like certain group of medication, nor’ do I want to get addicted to the ones they rave about. However, I have a limit to what I can see. Advocating is a learning experience – learn what triggers you and the advocating world is a beautiful place to be.
Never think that just because you are sharing a symptom you are triggering, or attention seeking. Certain groups of people – which is much more than you could ever imagine – need to see they are not alone. Every article you write, every creative project you embark on – you could be saving a life.
Advocating is a learning experience. Learn what is triggering, learn what is educating, meet fellow advocates and peers, be proud of what you write, issue trigger warnings, and be responsible.
Safe advocating 😊