I realize that one day my efforts to educate on the controversial subjects of ASPD and psychopathy may force me out of areas that I currently exist in. Being open about mental illness is a choice. It is not an easy choice. As I point out in the tweets listed at the beginning of this post, to speak is to lose and to stay silent is to lose. Significant others and employers want nothing to do with individuals that openly speak about mental illness. However, we have that choice. We can choose to go down in flames while being authentic and true to ourselves or we can scream into the deafening silence that surrounds us.
I’ve written before about the effects of not being open about mental illness. The internal contortion that one must go undergo is non-trivial and can leave permanent psychological damage. What message is conveyed to the afflicted if the only place they can talk about their struggles is within the four walls of a mental health professional’s office? Now, I am not advocating that the lines blur to the point to where a person is authentic in all spaces as significant others need a break from the affliction of their partner(s) and the workplace primarily exists as a symbiotic relationship between employer and employee. That said, there should be accommodation by those dealing with the mentally ill to ensure that the afflicted can be open on their own terms in their own spaces.
We all know that this is not how society operates, however. The decree is clear. Sit down, shut up, and keep on keeping on as if there is no elephant in the room. So in that essence, we lose. We lose no matter whether we are true to ourselves or true to others. Ultimately, I would argue, we should be selfish. We are more intimately acquainted with ourselves and honoring ourselves is the greatest promise we can keep for ourselves. Being open about mental illness is about honoring one’s ability to understand the framework in which they live in. And, it certainly goes a long way in ensuring that those with similar afflictions know that can have better outcomes with the same choice when they make it. Maybe as the years progress, we will get to a point to where there is actually a winning outcome.