For the first time, not the first time ever, but for the first time in a very long time, I am afraid to write. I am scared to write about the topics I am most passionate about and scared to expose myself to this big and scary world.
Before now, I was safe as a health activist surrounded by other health activists. I was safe in my blogging community, in the arms of others who lived and wrote about similar topics as I… I was comfortable addressing the challenges of my life with those who understood. I took for granted how easy it was to write and speak out when I was embraced and welcomed by such kind and gentle souls. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely moments when even in the company of the kindest of audiences I was afraid, a bit apprehensive about exposing my weakest moments (in writing and sometime in voice) to the world. But now, as I see and am reminded of the harshness of the greater public eye, I feel a weight on me heavier than ever before when it comes to exposure.
Working outside the home in an industry outside of health activism has hit me like the cold winter wind in my face. I am reminded of the less forgiving world views that exist about people with illness or mental health issues. I overhear topics of discussion in “the real world” that in my previous lifetime would have inspired many blog posts… but my response as of late has been silence. Inside I feel a resurgence of shame and worry, the “what if they knew” and “what if they found out” voices have resurfaced and stirred. And then an even deeper level of shame rears its ugly head when I realize that I haven’t spoken up… and I have called myself a health activist!
I am reminded and humbled by the thought of the many voices who have shared with me in my time spent blogging that they were unable to write without using a pen name or alias, many unable to write at all out of fear of co-workers, friends and family members finding out about their own personal struggles. I am humbled and grateful for the dear hearts who have shared with me that the fear of the stigma was too great for them, because now, if I had forgotten before, I do understand.
The worst feeling in all of this for me is that I feel that I have somehow lost a part of my identity by not speaking out in these last few months. My role as a blogger and activist gave me great pride and self-fulfillment. Now, I feel a bit shallow and lost. I want to reclaim my passion and power as an advocate and activist, but I wonder at what cost?
My life has also taken on new challenges as I now am solely responsible for the financial well-being of myself and my two-children, as a single parent and “starting over” there are new stresses that I face daily. My head just isn’t in the same game, as I am now unable to devote the time I would like to towards my blogging and activism efforts. My schedule has changed dramatically. My life has changed dramatically from one year ago.
So here I am, for the first time, in a long time, afraid to share my voice.
At least I can still whisper.
- The Health Activist Awards from WEGO Health: a reminder/A Great Idea for a PFAM Blog Carnival (phylor.wordpress.com)
- Blogging for Mental Health Pledge (iamnotshe.wordpress.com)
- Blog for Mental Health 2012 (steponacrack.wordpress.com)
- Let’s Talk: Mental Health (alisvolatpropriis2.wordpress.com)