Every now and then, I’m made to feel ashamed about being so open.
It’s bizarre I know, but when you volunteer to people how you’ve dealt with mental illness, are bisexual, and that you’ve written a book about the experience, you sometimes don’t receive the kindest response back.
“What on earth were you thinking?”
“Oh we talked about it, I didn’t read it by the way”
“Why would you do that?”
And that’s what I hear to my face. I am not privy to the conversations behind closed doors, the invisible discrimination received if someone looks me up and doesn’t like what they see, or the narrowly missed opportunities that come down to myself and one other person.
So in a world where information is instantly accessible and your social graph can be sized up with a single click, “what on earth” was I thinking putting myself out there like that?
Because someone has to.
You might not like what I say, but you probably weren’t aware that the leading cause of death in Australian males aged 14-44 is suicide (see Soften The Fuck up). You might not know, but it was Father’s Day on Sunday and I lost my Dad to suicide 27 years ago. You also might not be aware that it’s World Suicide Prevention Day today.
It is much easier to incidentally judge, than to look at a situation from their perspective. In sharing my perspective, my views, my candour, I like to think I can help those struggling to find their own voice.
Mental health is not an easy thing to talk about, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Sexuality isn’t the easiest thing to address, but that doesn’t mean it should be taboo. In writing about my experiences I’d like to think the cost of putting myself out there outweighs the demystification it brings.
Then perhaps one day, I won’t have to justify why I wrote a fucking book about the topic.