Monday, 10 December 2012

What's appropriate to say

I feel like writing more on my mental health. I'm not sure what's appropriate to write, though. The only thing that I've been diagnosed with is mild-moderate depression, but I've had other mental health problems and sometimes still struggle. The response I've had to the few times I've spoken of my mental health problems has mostly not been good though - some people have told me to not talk about it, or said that I'm making things all about myself, and some people have said 'oh' and changed the subject. That said, the few people who've had a positive response - saying 'okay' and asking more questions, or even admitting that they don't know what to say, has been really encouraging. I like to talk about myself, but have been told often that there are certain things that I shouldn't say, which makes me reluctant and unsure what's appropriate to say. Being given the space to talk without any prompting can be daunting though, I far prefer it if people ask me questions and will listen to the answer that I give.

That's one of the reasons that I prefer writing to speaking - I have the space to write, and am not forcing somebody to listen/read. If a person reading my thoughts doesn't want to read any more, they can stop without offending me. And I can write all that I like, without waiting for the other person's approval to continue. Most media portrayals of people with Asperger Syndrome show that person to talk for a long time with no holds barred (it took me a while to understand what that phrase meant) - I feel that when I write, I am like this. When I speak, I seem to be the opposite, giving the other person so many opportunities to speak that in the end I say little or nothing. I'm getting better at speaking, but still fear others' reactions, especially if I don't know the speaker well.

Part of me worries that it seems as though I'm asking for sympathy by talking about my history of mental illness. I'm not, and I don't want sympathy. I'd like understanding, and I'd like people to want to know more. And to ask me questions. And to not treat me differently because they know that I've had mental health problems. I've been really fortunate that for the most part, the people I've trusted enough to tell recently have treated me the same as before I told them about my past and present issues.

This is very similar to my concerns about coming out as Aspie. And that hasn't backfired.

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