Mental Health: Why Opening Up is Vital
By Emma Wallace
There has been an onslaught of individuals in positions of power and/or high visibility owning up to and sharing about the mental health struggles that they go through. While this might seem like a lot or just down right triggering, it is actually an extremely noble and important thing to do. From the point of view of the individual sharing, the more you talk about it the easier it becomes to talk about. And from the perspective of the individual hearing the story, it makes your own mental health issues seem not as daunting and solidifies the point that you aren't alone.
I come at this from a very personal place. I have depression and anxiety, and when I was in high school I tried to kill myself. Twice. This has always been hard for me to talk about, especially when I was going through the thick of it. I didn't want to come off as weak or sick, I didn't want to be burden on my loved ones. I felt I had to keep up the facade of the straight A student who was nice to everyone. Even after my suicide attempts, I did not talk about my mental health openly EVER. This was an incredibly damaging and unhealthy mindset to have, as it forced me to internalize everything I was feeling and not feel comfortable around those I was closest to. Recently, I have finally become not only comfortable, but confident with sharing my story to those around me.
This brings me to the feeling that as a community we have to drastically change the way we talk about and perceive mental health issues. If we make the environment more open and understanding, people may have an easier time sharing their story early on. The more stories that are shared will hopefully work to lessen the stigma around talking about mental health in the first place. That was a main reason I decided to share what I went though 4 years later. I hope that it helps just one person see the light at the end of the tunnel and not feel so alone. Hive Theory stands for community and works to strengthen it with everything we do, and the mental health of a community is an incredibly important thing. That's part of the reason we started our People of FoCo campaign, to show the different types of people that make up our community and the problems that they all face. We want to show that to make a hive, you need many different bees with different strengths and weaknesses.
We also hope to increase the amount of blog posts we do about important issues like mental health, to keep the dialog organic and flowing. Do you have a topic that you want to hear about? Let us know in the comments.