Sorry, your browser is not supported
To have the best experience using Skillshare, we recommend that you use one of these supported browsers.

680

9

Reading Between the Poles

Having the chance to share our experiences openly with one another is worth the risk. 

...

Full length: please click here

...

Clip from one of my rehearsals - spoiler alert: please click here

Bloopers please click here

Thank you for watching!

***

What action do I want to inspire? Having the courage to disclose a mental illness, despite potentially harmful and negative consequences.

I believe that the positive impact that disclosing can have, far outweighs the stigma that surrounds the topic of mental illness. I want to be a part of a movement, and work with organizations that help raise awareness and educate the patients as well as their circles. 

...

As a teenager, I was beyond sensitive. I could be as rebellious and emotional as the best of them. One afternoon, in an effort to console me, my father sat me down in the garage and told me about his cousin in the US. She'd gone through unbelievable struggles, lived on the streets, had been addicted to drugs and more. Fortunately, she had met a wonderful man, and with his support they built a beautiful life. The discussion that ensued was full of hope, he always believed in the potential people had to overcome adversity. 

Almost 20 years later, I posted an article about Bipolar. The cousin that shared it, another from the US, led me down a fascinating path.

I'd found a Bipolar cousin. She informed me there were others. She encouraged me to contact one in particular. I began speaking with the cousin from my father's tale thanks to social media. I wish I could have told him how her story had unfolded, he had passed away just a few years before. Her story continues to be one of inspiration to me. She is openly Bipolar, has published articles and books, is now married and has a son. Today she's proudly earning her PHD in Psychology. 

Speaking with her, motivated me to learn more about my illness. I realized that I not only had the potential to share my story, but to have the life I'd dreamed of despite the preconceived notions that surround mental illness. She fights stigma and I'm fiercely eager to get in the ring.

...

Talk

There are consequences to disclosing mental illness. It's a confusing thin line, that seems so obvious to everyone but the person that is struggling with the topic.

For instance, there can be negative repercussions. Judgements and assumptions that are made from generalized beliefs of people with MI. Self stigma and isolation can set in from the concern that the disclosure changed the perception people have of onesself. 

On a wider scale, and in my case, everyone warns that I won't find employment by making this move. What I had to consider was the fact that without disclosing anything, in a year I'd found employment and lost it 2 weeks later. It might not have been related, yet, if they had known why I was so anxious, if they had understood the fluctuations in my concentration, we might have worked together to find solutions. 

There had to be potential positive aspects to disclosing. My first rehearsal was all about the reason I'm moving forward with this project. I believe that I can live a life without lying or living in fear of being exposed. Social media is wonderful, until that dreaded day comes when a relative or a friend forgets that it's a secret. 

If I felt this way, and had seen so many incredible speakers disclose openly, there had to be a benefit. I was inspired to talk thanks to others that had. Their words of encouragement when I wrote them only helped me to be brave. For anyone that wants to disclose, I wanted to be another that showed it's possible and give them hope. 

Removing the secret, helps increase confidence and self esteem. It can offer a sense of empowerment, in my case by being able to be honest. Guilt and shame start to decrease as messages of support start coming in. 

One interesting thought occured to me while I was reheasing. Thinking back to my dark moments, my first instinct should always be to call for help. That isn't the case for me, and many others. One thing I saw myself doing, was searching for distractions or even some form of confirmation that I wasn't alone. I searched my dark thoughts online, and out came so many people sharing their stories and tools to overcome this kind of adversity. If for no other reason, the videos I post should be accessible to those who won't ask for help directly. To offer the same comfort I received and assurance that this life can be better even when dealing with mental illness. 

I have hope now.

Education, understanding and acceptance are possible. 

Disclosure is a feasible choice, and we can all join fight stigma - full force!

Thank you!

Thank you

Stats

I stumbled through a few interesting statistics, in trying to find what would be relevant to my talk. I found facts, figures, and just so many numbers that helped to explain why I shouldn't disclose anything about my mental illness. My intent to justify why I'm doing this, through research statistics, somewhat proves that it's not the optimal choice. However, I am motivated by my own statistics and would like to share a few here.

By posting my rehearsals, I had a few goals in mind. One disclosure cannot and shouldn't be used as a single reference to motivate someone to openly expose themselves. I had to consider the risks and I encourage others to do the same, taking into account their personal circumstances. 

The information that is relevant to my talk, to my own fears and the current outcome of my disclosure. 

In Canada, according to CMHA, 20% of people will personally experience a mental illness in the life, 8% will live through a major depression, and 1% are Bipolar.

NIHM has stated that 1 in 5 people with Bipolar will commit suicide. AJMC studies have shown that under 50% are employed, and less than 30% are working full time jobs. 

"An applicant with a mental health problem (depression) was rated as significantly lower in suitability than an applicant with no known disability" BMC Psychiatry 2012

--- 

Today, December 5th, I would like to share my numbers:

My project has gained in popularity, and this helps me with my goal in raising awareness. My hope is that I will be able to move forward and educate people by using my own skillset.

My rehearsals have been viewed over 180 times, in a few countries, mainly in Canada and the US. 

I have received a number of likes, shares and positive comments on YouTube, Facebook and Skillshare.

To date, there have been no negative comments, however there is a chance that could happen.

Family and friends are supportive and I appreciate this with all my heart.

Merci! :)

 

Refs

Secrets - Mary Lambert

LaRubie

Self Stigma - Disclosure Conclusion clip

Comments

Please sign in or sign up to comment.