This question has never left my mind- since everything happened, since i got back to work back then, and since i got back to work this time round. I was never prepared- physically, mentally or emotionally- to give the correct answer. And when i tried asking the people on my team how i should go about doing it, even they had no clear answer. What i got from them? Ambivalence. As if i wasn’t already ambivalent enough to begin with.
People are curious. They’d ask, and they’ll keep asking until they’re satisfied. Have you graduated? But why not? Why are you doing your PRCP only now? Were you here before? Why were you only here for a day? What happened? Weren’t you chubbier then? What are those scars on your arms? What were they from? Why? What happened?
I never knew what to say, and it still stands true till today. I don’t know what to say, and how i’d say it.
How do i tell you???
How do i tell you without you looking at me differently? How do i tell you without you judging me for what i was? How do i tell you without you making preconceived notions about what i am going to be?
The thing is, depression is hard to talk about (and so are the rest of mental illnesses). I don’t talk about it to anyone except to the people on my team. And sometimes even my team struggle to comprehend me, my thoughts and my ensuing actions.
I guess what i am afraid of, is the reaction people would have. It would probably be an adverse one, and it will definitely be one that would feed into the vicious cycles of my negative cognitions.
I realised that i unknowingly went along with the social stigma of mental illness by guarding my privacy fiercely, and by refusing to talk about it openly. Perhaps i am not yet ready, and maybe i need more time. But i want to- and i really do mean it- be able to talk about it openly like i do with my RA. That i guess, is the least i could do on my part to help lessen the social stigma surrounding mental illnesses.
It is still immensely difficult, but i am finding that courage everyday to talk about it, and be unafraid of it. There is so much i can do if i am willing to talk about depression openly. And like/with RA, i hope i can use it to empower myself to do something different in my care for my patients, as well as for my role in the society, no matter how minute it may be.
When you’re ready, Steph. When you’re ready.