Just a quick thought before I head to bed:One thing that I strive for in writing IOI is transparency. It's why I chose to blog through my recent depressing episode. I tell the truth about my own challenges with physical and mental wellness. I cannot ask for honesty and vulnerability from anyone in my life, least of all my readers, without extending the same. So I'm writing a quick bonus entry about this tonight. Here's something that happened today:
I had a panic attack. Not feeling nervous. Not overwhelmed. This was a full-on, head-to-toe, adrenaline pumping, heart pounding, tunnel vision, couldn't breathe, knew I was dying panic attack. To use one of those clinical terms I am so fond of, it sucked. As soon as I was able to, I took medication for it to help my body return to its usual state. But what this meant was that I wasn't able to drive for a few hours afterward. I was supposed to go to a class tonight where I'm a Teacher's Aide (TA) twice a week (another story). I went to email the instructor and a couple of my friends who would also be there, and I had a decision to make: What do I tell them? Something vague like, "can't make it tonight?" A white lie like a flat tire or a migraine? Or do I tell the truth, and be prepared to deal with how it might be perceived? I chose door number three. I will say the instructor I TA for is really cool, and I had a good idea that it was going to be okay. She was extremely supportive and kind, as was my friend. Anxiety is part of my mental health challenge. It's nothing for me to be ashamed of any more than a broken bone or the flu.
One of my main goals is to get you, me, our community, and Fluffy the Goldfish talking about mental health and wellness issues. This isn't going to happen if as soon as there's an issue about mental health, any of us start hiding. Of course it's always important to be safe. If disclosing your mental health status is going to put you in harm's way, always make your safety top priority! Know that IOI is here as a safe community where you don't have to hide. I want to celebrate accomplishments, share what we learn, and help one another dust off after we fall. But it means we're all in this together. I truly hope you learn from what I share here. I am committed to doing what I can to make IOI really special. If this means putting myself out there, taking risks, and being vulnerable I'll be first in line for you every time.