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.
In 1992, the World Federation of Mental Health established World Mental Health Day. In almost 30 years, knowledge about mental health a grown a great deal. The biggest goal for this day is awareness. Even today, there are many people who don’t understand the vast mental health issues people struggle with every day. Even the most recognizable disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) still lack awareness in the general public. Worst of all, people with no medical or behavioral health training claim to know about these disorders and spread false information.
I use this blog and others to share my own experiences. I share my first-hand account of struggling with PTSD and how I learned I had PTSD with two goals in mind. First, I want to bring awareness to people who know nothing about mental health issues. Second, I want others who experience the same things to realize they’re not alone. Many people suffer from poor mental health and don’t realize it. And many have no means to seek help. They may not have insurance. They may not have the means or ability to access medication. They may be afraid to take medication or think they don’t need any.
Help spread awareness about mental health by sharing your story. Only share what you’re comfortable sharing. I have found it helpful to talk about my experiences. It was one step I had to take among many to begin the path to healing. I’m still healing and still have a long way to go. Never give up. Never surrender.
Today is also National Chess Day. Where World Mental Health Day is always October 10, National Chess Day is always the second Saturday of October. The strategic game was developed in the fifth century in India. The game has a history of breaking down barriers such as class, language, and cultural. If you’ve never played chess before, I recommend it. Its war scaled down to a smaller size. I think all wars should be fought over a game of chess, so no one dies.
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.