Just a Whisper

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 andΒ  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.

11 thoughts on “Just a Whisper

  1. You’ve been rather bruised and battered mentally by the recent events in your personal life, but no one’s attitude towards you has changed, I bet. I just carry on as if there is no stigma attached to mental illness and it seems to work. Don’t FEEL stigmatised and people will have less baggage to load you up with! I’ve been blogging alone for years, often talking about my depression and its treatment, not as part of any community. Also I’ve blogged about depression when I’ve been a professional mental health researcher some of the time! So get your courage back, tell it like it is and we’ll all listen- even better than before. Hopefully your fibromyalgia will continue to improve and the chronic pain might be suitable for new techniques dreamt up in pain clinics recently- I know they’re always announcing things locally. Be hopeful- its hard, but what else is there?

  2. Amy, It is really good to see you writing again. I understand exactly what you mean by the stigma of the world and how it can be intimidating to share what you struggle with. To be honest, what you share here does help so many. Keep that in mind. Hope to hear more from you and keep looking up. God is the One who gives us strength. πŸ™‚

  3. What if there are seasons, transitional periods where it’s perfectly okay to be still, or quiet while we readjust to the changing pace and situations in our lives? I think when we’ve been warriors in our own personal battles against both our own health problems and the problems of ignorance and misperception by others, it’s only natural that we may also face times of apprehension and fear. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your voice or your brave heart, it just means that this is a season for a different kind of learning, and although you may feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under your feet; It’s happening because you are ready for this next stage of your journey.

    Namaste.

  4. I understand and i hear you. I am honored that you will direct people to my posts. I am at a different place in my game. You are in a much different space: You have children and your livelihood to think about. While i, too, need to be protective of what people think of me, i am in a space of feeling i have nothing to lose and ALL to gain. I feel that strongly about people seeing me, a strong woman, who is also being completely vulnerable and honest, who feels so strongly about debunking the stigmas of mental illness, specifically ED’s that i will continue to speak.

    The way i look at it, if someone would whisper about me, and perhaps not interview me for a job (etc.) I would speak out louder. Who do the “normal” people think they are? Have they no problems? Do they think they’re stronger because they are taking the tough upper lip, and everyone else is expendable. Bullshit! Bring it on. The hell of ED is a thousand times worse than anything anyone can do to me because of my speaking out. The absolute truth. So, in saying this, i hope to God someone doesn’t stomp on me. πŸ™‚ THANK YOU FOR BEING SO HONEST ABOUT YOUR LIFE!

    You are so strong! You must do what makes the most sense for you. Your life is what you need to think about. You children … priority one!!! You are awesome … Thanks for stopping by the iamnotshe rant-page.

  5. Way to go, Amy, to have the enormous courage to express your concerns. I’ve experienced similar when stepping outside the safe confines of my recovery support community – sometimes you wonder how they view you, about those “less forgiving world views.” But you disempower that mindset greatly by just naming your concerns. You make a big difference for a lot of people, and your honesty is a big part of that impact!

    Dan

  6. You will come back to blogging on a regular basis when it feels “right.” You are back out in a world that doesn’t understand, or really want to understand, mental health issues. You need to take care of yourself and your children; your voice remains, even if you feel it is only a whisper, in what you have written and what you will write again.

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