Apparently, I’m having an existential crisis over a twitter account.
I don’t have a twitter account. I had never really wanted one, but after I set one up for the organization I work for, I was like “Hey! This would be a good way to connect with people and stay current in my field!”
And I got as far as thinking about what twitter handle I would pick. Cue the existential crisis.
Quandary #1: Use my real name or make something up. If I want to use it to join in on conversations in my field, which I do, I should use my real name. But I also I want to participate in conversations on mental health. I don’t believe I can do both without shooting myself in the foot.
Quandary #2: Do I pick between the two? Should I pick between the two?
I like to try and believe that my mental illness isn’t a secret. But lets face it, it is now and always will be. I mean certain people “know” I have a mental illness, but its the same way people “know” there are starving children in Africa. It’s simply not on their radar, and the implications are not fully understood. I have a grand total of TWO people that have been able to ride the waves of this disorder with me over the past several years. Neither are part of my family.
I wish I could say the hell with it. I wish I could say I could weather whatever storm outing myself would cause. I wish I could say it wouldn’t affect me professionally. Or if it does, I can take it, or at least adopt the “Well if they don’t like it, I don’t need them” mentality.
But I can’t.
Even though I haven’t really had negative responses from people I’ve told. I’m still scared shitless. My job is the one thing in my life that can fall into the “normal” category. Its the one thing in my life where I can keep up with the rest of the world. I want to keep it that way.
So why don’t I just keep the two separate? Why don’t I just pick one and carry on like I have been?
Because I can’t do that anymore. That’s why I haven’t found a church in my new town, or reached out to become an active member in the community.
The thing that is the source of my fear is stigma. And I know by succumbing to it I’m not making it any better. The fact that I can carry on like I do could do something to help break down the stigma if I were more open about it. I want to help people, and at the same time find community of support.
So when all is said and done….no I’m not getting a Twitter account. Not until I figure out how live with all parts of myself in a way I don’t feel like I’m hiding something.