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Let's Keep Talking 🙂 (Bell Let's Talk, 2017)

​I suppose if there's any good day to force words out of myself, it's today. Not because the world is suddenly more understanding and willing to listen for this one day, and not just to put in my 2 cents (or 5, of donation☺), but because this week I happened to be having the sort of week where words have been really really hard. When I struggle with anything, to any extent, I can be sure it'll show itself in terms of disconnect.

Staying connected to any degree is a challenge, but being truthfully open can seem impossible, especially when truth often lies so securely closed and covered. Most of you who read this know I that I started sharing on a smaller Instagram because I didn't want to have to stay silent out of fear of wider judgement. But even amongst friends, a picture and a few inconsequential words can cause panic. That's probably why it's been a long time since I've been able to share honest updates, as I'd originally hoped to be able to.

I love people and connection, even though, as I've said before, we make absolutely no sense and I'm usually entirely confused by us all ☺. If I were to employ the use of labels to talk about why talking is hard for me, I'd find myself listing what's become the usual explanations in my mind- nonverbal learning disability, anxiety, depression, ptsd. I use these to tell myself that's why things don't make sense. That's the positive, useful side of labels I guess -- they communicate a reason for experiencing difference. But they also set up a preemptive fear of difference. As they do whenever I confront a new situation (“new” meaning anything from facing a new city, to facing a new day, or even a new minute). I can find myself using that list as proof that I'll fail. With 3 hospitalizations in the last year, I tend to think I'm not able. The worst kind of “not able” I've experienced is not able to have friends. I'm so good at retreating and being quiet, but if I'm honest with myself, I know all that's ever done is made things worse. The most helpful thing has always been the process of finding words, and hopefully with that, finding connection with someone who hears those words. That's why today matters. For me, today is about connection.

Today matters to me because this has been a week of retreating. It's been experiencing an overtaking ptsd panic attack. It's been fear and disappointment in myself. It's been too many “normal” things not making sense, and too many thoughts that shouldn't be normal, making far too much sense. Most of all it's been too much silence. This week I forgot that talking honestly is okay. That's why today matters.

To be completely honest, a huge amount of me dreads #BellLetsTalk. This morning I planned to hide away from all social media and pretend it wasn't happening. Hearing truth is important, but can also be extremely draining. I often have to disconnect because of merely being overwhelmed about expected overwhelm ☺ It's a part of not trusting any part of myself, or my strength. It's a part of being aware of my constant list that explains, though doesn't define me. Though It was also a part of remembering that's precisely what #LetsTalk is for. It's for encouraging connection in those who find it to be an impossible and constant battle everyday. Of course we should be open to talking about mental health every day all year, but it definitely helps to kick start courage when it's done together. Last year, I said that caring about caring is important. The year I've experienced since then has shown me that connecting about connecting is another similarly important tool to use to uncover courage.

Thank you to you who have listened this year. You listened to words I didn't want to say, but had to, in someway, to someone. ☺ It was because of you I made it through, and because of you I learnt how to talk. Now when I do talk...I apparently talk a lot! So thanks for being patient as I learn the “how”, the “when” and the “how much” of sharing words ☺Thank you for telling me when you need space. That is what open communication is all about, and I appreciate your honesty when I get to be too much.

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