Mental Health Advocacy
Back in 2012, I came out as someone who suffered under depression and anxiety. I got help in late 2010, but only after the pain from my mental illness had grown so crippling that I planned on killing myself.
For so long, I was silent about this — afraid that employers would turn me down and that haters on the Internet would try to use that as an exploitable weakness. That changed when I read about yet another person killing themselves, people being saddened and shocked by it, and wishing there was a way to help that person. That changed when I knew others who were suffering as I did, who would sometimes write me but refuse to otherwise get help. That changed when I realized that we wouldn’t get better as a community unless we reached a critical mass of people who were open about these conversations. I’m not the first to be that person, and not always the loudest, but I chose to be present and hopefully inspire others to be as well.
Let Us Not Suffer Alone Anymore
So I wrote about my struggle with depression and suicide on my Google+. It’s a heavy and hard post to read, where I share what it’s like to be in that mindset, what lead me there, and what lead me out. I decided that if being public meant not getting a job, I didn’t want to work with such an employer. If people where going to throw hatred at me because of it, then that would just be them showing the world their bigotry. But I was no longer going to be cowed into silence because the world by and large doesn’t like to talk about mental health.
I’ve told my story at conventions, holding honest and safe mental health panels — at Gen Con 2012, NorWesCon 2013, MisCon 2013, and Metatopia 2013. I also had that talk on a public Google+ hangout.
If you want to better understand some of these concepts, read about Spoon Theory: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/
If you’d like me to speak at your convention, feel free to contact me.
If you’d like to share your story with me, please contact me.
If you need help, please seek it out. Here’s the website for the National (USA) Suicide Prevention Hotline, or Google “suicide prevention” in your country. I’m not a mental health professional, just a guy who suffers like you.
You may also want to check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness.