Yesterday I had the pleasure of doing a live interview about Beneath The Surface on CBC Radio's Here and Now Program. I'm really excited that Beneath The Surface for World Mental Health Day and in celebration of Workman Arts 25th Anniversary is getting so much interest. Raising awareness and reducing stigma about mental health issues is so vitally important. It's key in people reaching out for help, and getting well.
It took a long time for me to finally "come out" with having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As a resident of the Parkdale Neighbourhood (which has long been known to be home to many individuals with mental health issues) I see the prejudice and stigma on a daily basis. I kept my OCD a secret for fear of rejection by family and friends. When people find out I have a mental health issue the response is always the same, "Really? I never would've guessed". Thing is that so many people that suffer a mental health issue are just like me and no one would guess that it's as prominent as it is.
I shouldnt have to be ashamed of my OCD. I have a long list of life experiences that have contributed to the illness. It's who I am. It makes me unique and allows me a different perpective on life. It's not easy to live with but it's easier to be true to who I am and be accepted for that.
I sincerely hope that coming forward raises awareness. That it helps others who have a mental health issue feel less shame. There is no shame in being ill. That it makes people think and re-evaluate their preconceived notions about mental health issues and that it comes in all different shapes and sizes. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.