This might be a more interesting conversation we have this morning. National Coming Out Day began back in 1988 to encourage people to stop living in the closet and be proud of their sexuality. I identify as Demisexual, leaning towards asexual. Demisexual individuals need a strong emotional bond with someone before they get fully sexually aroused. Asexual individuals show less interest in sex, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy sex. If you want to know more, I recommend you do a quick google search. I have been vocal about this for many years once I learned about and understood these sexualities.
I would also like to make this day about coming out with one’s mental health struggles. Many are ashamed of their mental illnesses. There is no shame in having a mental illness. Sometimes it involves chemicals in your body being out of balance. Sometimes it’s because you faced some awful or difficult situations in your life. Having a mental illness means you survived. Be proud of surviving. I have talked about my personal struggles with PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression. I’m vocal about it and I think those who know me understand and accept me more than they did before. Coming Out Day is really about not having secrets. No secrets from your friends and family. No secrets from yourself. Don’t hide who you are.
So, it’s been a year to the day since everything fell apart around me. I don’t want to go into all the details. On October 7, 2019 (the day after my world imploded), I started writing three good things that happened to me every day. Some days I’d write more than that, but I always made sure to have at least three. As time went on, I started writing four good things that happened to me every day and why those things were important to me. I’ve done this every day for an entire year. What’s different about myself now from one year ago?
For starters, I’m more positive. Not only that but it’s easier to see positive outcomes or circumstances. I lived so long in a black stew of anger and depression. I thought that was normal. I thought there was no way I could be wrong. I call it the black chaos. With this extra positivity, I noticed I enjoyed little things more than before. Some things I don’t remember ever enjoying. Like taking a picture with friends. That darkness kept me from living my life fully. I never realized how much I had been missing.
Another thing that changed came as a surprise to me. I was sharing some of my story with a coworker. She said she noticed a difference. I thought she would say I was happier or more cheerful. But I didn’t expect her reply. She said I had more confidence in myself. It never occurred to me that would be something that would improve. That’s when I really took hold of this positivity. Not only did I keep making changes in my life, I started looking forward to those changes and what they would bring. The sky was not the limit. The stars were not the limit. The world had become limitless.
I still have a long way to go. I’m not ready for any kind of romance. I’m not even ready for dating. My goal for this next year is to find a full-time job so I don’t have to work several part-time gigs. I have the means to live comfortably and save money, but I want something more fulfilling. I also plan to finish the first draft of the first novel I’ve ever written. Maybe I can get a publishing deal in the next year and that’ll be the first step towards a career. Like I said, possibilities are limitless.
While it can be celebrated anytime, Mad Pride Month is celebrated in July. Mad Pride began in 1993 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It formed in response to the negative stigma from local communities towards people with mental illness. The purpose of Mad Pride is to reclaim terms like “mad,” “nutter,” “psycho,” etc. from misuse. The goal is to educate the general public on mental health, and it’s causes. It took more than 20 years for depression to be recognized as a disease. Mad Pride doesn’t mean accepting one is crazy and moving on. It means recognizing that not everyone falls into what society calls “normal.”
I have struggled with my mental health for several years. I have often felt alienated by others because I didn’t fall into their definition of normal. They never realized that they didn’t fall into my definition of normal. As Morticia Addams from The Addams Family (1991) said, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” I like the idea of saying something like I have a mental illness and I’m recovering and I’m proud of that. I don’t think it means being proud of awful behavior. It’s about being proud of your own journey. Be proud of your normal. Take pride in your madness but don’t let it control you.