Why I Do What I Do

I received a message through Facebook messenger last night. It has completely derailed me. 

The individual who sent me the message had been following my journey on Facebook for some time now and just last week had so bravely reached out to me in private to share a piece of her own story with me. She told me that she keeps alot of her mental health struggles to herself and that many of her family and close friends did not even know. She assured me though that she was safe and under the care of both a Doctor and Therapist.

During this same conversation she also told me how brave it is of me to be able to be so open and vulnerable about my illness and asked me why I do it. I gave her a list of reasons why, the same list I’ve written about time and time again in so many of my Blogs. I told her I do it with the hope of helping others struggling along their own mental health journey feel less alone. I told her I do it to inspire those who are struggling in silence to feel that it’s okay to not be okay, to feel like someone is listening, to feel like someone understands them and most importantly, to give others the courage or strength they may need to ask for help. 

I told her that I also do it so I can help the many other individuals following my journey as well who are struggling themselves to care for a friend or loved one living with a mental illness and who may need some extra comfort or guidance while navigating through our very broken health care system or who may also need some help in understanding a little bit better what their friend or loved one may be experiencing or feeling. 

And I also told her that by sharing my journey so openly and educating others about mental illness as well that I am trying to put an end to the stigma surrounding it.

We messaged back and forth for a while that night. She gave me her phone number and I gave her mine. She tried reaching me by phone and through Facebook messenger several times the next day but we did not connect in person. 

We texted again, although briefly, later on that evening. I told her I was available now to speak by phone if she would like to. She was not able to at that moment and we haven’t spoken again since. I did however notice that she began to actively comment on several of my blogs/posts. Her comments felt confusing at times and somewhat alarming as to her own current state of mental health. I deleted several of her comments because I felt as though I needed to protect her.

Then last night she sent me a private message again through Facebook messenger to tell me that I needed to stop sharing my journey publicly and that even though I may think I’m helping others with what I post, I’m actually not. She continued by telling me that people don’t want to hear about my thoughts of suicide or my many other vulnerabilities but would prefer to hear the “truth” about mental illness in a more positive light and that I should consider buying myself a journal to write down my personal thoughts there instead (which I already do!). She ended the message by saying “Hope you’re doing well!!

To say this message has derailed me is an understatement right now. After reading her message several times (like probably 40) and becoming more and more upset each time, I decided to answer her back. I started by first apologizing to her for making her feel this way and explained to her that I try and speak from my heart surrounding mental health and wellness. I came back to that list of reasons I had shared with her a week earlier. I told her that my willingness to be so open and vulnerable has helped so many people start important conversations and has allowed many more to feel less alone as they desperately try to find resources available in order to get some help for themselves or a loved one. I also reminded her that when I do post things that could potentially be triggering for someone I always write a warning at the very top of it. 

I wished her well and told her that if my platform is too much of a trigger for her to please feel free to unfollow me. She read my response and immediately afterwards unfollowed me, well actually she went one step further and blocked me. 

She has completely derailed me today and has left me questioning everything I do or the possible harm I may have caused to others reading my Blog or posts. 

I have no ill feeling towards her for what she said to me, I know I can’t please everyone or be everybody’s cup of tea. People are free to unfollow me or scroll on by my posts if they so choose to. I myself have needed to block several people from my Social Media accounts who have triggered my own mental wellness in some way. 

What I am feeling most right now though is sadness. Sadness for someone who may feel a sense of shame because of her illness. 

I’m not sure if by her sending this message to me was her way of trying to gain some type of validation from me for wanting to keep her illness a secret. I have never judged anyone who has reached out to me before who is suffering in silence. I’m just happy that they are reaching out at all.

And even though she has completely derailed me from my mission today I know in my heart that I do what I do so that people feel like they have a safe place to turn to no matter what and although she may not feel like I should be sharing my journey so openly and with such vulnerability, it was because of my willingness to share and bring a sense of comfort with it so publicly that she found me and began following me in the first place, just like so many others have as well. 

As I try to get my focus back on track from this derailment I need to continue reminding myself the reasons why I do what I do.

#mentalhealth #mentalwellness #whyidowhatido #cantmakeeveryonehappy #focusonthegood #derailment #mentalillness #helpingothers #startaconversation #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #yoursecretissafewithme #depression #anxiety #suicidalthoughts #endthestigmatogether

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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