The Holidays are always a special time of year. Families and friends are celebrating, media seems to be a lot more jolly and delightful, music sounds like nostalgia and happiness. However, as much as it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” it can also be a horror show to a lot of people; specifically speaking for people with mental illness.
Why can’t you talk about your new therapist when your family talks about their medical specialists and alignments?
The Holidays are a time to avoid a lot of topics (i.e. the elections, relationship statuses, family feuds). Somehow, however, the subject of “Mental Health” has fallen into that category. Which is mind boggling to me. If a family member asks how you’re doing, you’re supposed to answer honestly. I mean, maybe fine details are excessive, but if you’re struggling why can’t you talk about that? Why can’t you talk about your new therapist when your family talks about their medical specialists and alignments? Why do you have to adhere to people being uncomfortable to your mental illness, while listening to the fine details of a wart removal from one of your uncles? So many of us while climb back into the mental health closet, and hide who they are, what they’re dealing with, and their struggles; ultimately distancing ourselves from family and hiding our identity.
There is something cool about being a grown-up though; we can choose who we call family.
Here’s the thing a lot of us are missing; you don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You don’t have to hide your mental illness, your struggles, or your treatment. Family (whether or not they’re blood, or handpicked) is supposed to love you through thick and thin. There is something cool about being a grown-up though; we can choose who we call family. If someone doesn’t support your diagnosis and treatment, or make you feel bad for something you have no control over, they aren’t family. And you know, you don’t need to speak to them. Why allow toxic people in your life? Just because you share a last name, doesn’t mean you owe them your comfort.
So I’d like to advise all of you, during this difficult, public time, to be yourself. Sadly our society and some people in our families aren’t caught up with the times, and don’t understand mental health. Truthfully, it’s not your fault. Still, that doesn’t mean you must hide your struggles, pains, or triumphs. Be yourself; answer questions when asked, tell your story, share your journey. If people don’t like that, then you’ve just gained more knowledge into who doesn’t belong in your life. Mental health matters, even in public, around family, and in regular day life. You don’t ever have to excuse yourself or create more stigma in your personal life.