When to speak up

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I had a big moment of awkwardness today. Of course it was in a crowded room. Crowded with people I barely knew. Fun times.

I've been going to a local Lutheran church here. I love it. The pastors are super nice, the congregation is lovely and welcoming, and there are tons of activities geared towards young families. This week was my second week going to a mom's group at the church. Margaret gets to hang in the nursery with other kids and I get to talk to grown ups. It's everything I ever dreamed of.

We are currently discussing Glennon Doyle Melton's book Carry On Warrior. (It's fantastic! This is my second time reading it.) You may also know her from her blog Momastery. Our pastor leading the discussion briefly left the room and the conversation somehow devolved into the possibility that Glennon was somehow Bipolar (I don't think she is) and was possibly using her platform to feed her Bipolar Disorder. I'm not sure exactly what that meant (Bipolar people have sociopathic traits? We're narcissists?), but it was rapidly going downhill.

I started to get very tense. My temperature rose and I started to get a little twitchy. My options were to stay quiet, leave the room, or speak up. And I did. I spoke just loud enough to be heard- "I just think that I should throw out there that I'm Bipolar." Perhaps not my most eloquent sentence, but it was heard, as the room went totally silent and all eyes were on me. "Just wanted to throw that out there." Then I attempted to rein in the conversation.

It wasn't my place to lecture anyone. I didn't want to make anyone else feel uncomfortable. They had done nothing wrong. I just wanted to stop feeling awkward. I was afraid that if I didn't say something at that moment, someone else might say something (perhaps completely unintentionally) that might make me feel permanently uncomfortable and unwelcome in that group. I think we've all had those moments and said things in the heat of the moment, and especially when in a group mentality, that we regret. I didn't want to be the unwelcome recipient of those kinds of statements.

In the end, I'm glad I said something, but I also feel like I had to tell something deeply personal that wasn't on my terms. I'm a little frustrated that I felt I had to say something before I was ready to share that. I've been working on not being so hesitant to share this part of me. I'm no longer ashamed of it, but I do feel like I'm contributing to the stigma and "hush-hush" nature of mental illness when I am afraid to talk about it. I firmly believe there's a time and a place for everything, but I also know that speaking out releases some of that shame that surrounds it. The less shame, the less power the stigma has, the less of a grip it holds over our lives.

3 comments:

  1. I say Good For You!!! I'm sorry you had to share this part of your story under those circumstances, but I am proud of you for not being ashamed of what you're dealing with and who you are. I have been in a similar position with depression, and when you described what you were feeling, that same feeling flooded back to me. I'm sorry it happened, but I'm glad you shared. I think you are awesome!

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    1. Thanks, Anna! It stunk at the time, but as I sit here a few days later, I'm a little glad that it's over and I don't have to be nervous about whenever it does come out. Thanks for the support!

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  2. I second Anna! Way to be courageous and speak up, even if not the most eloquent! ;) If you'd be so brave to share with the blog world, I still would love to hear more about it and your struggles and victories with it, and how motherhood has possibly affected it? I think you mentioned you stopped or lowered meds while pregnant? Did you continue again or have you found that not being on meds has been just fine?

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