Request for sources: why did you choose to share your mental health journey publicly?

Greetings esteemed Medium followers!

Recently, I’ve been witnessing a growing number of LinkedIn connections — and those elsewhere on the internet — choosing to disclose their mental health journeys.

Stories I have witnessed have included recoveries from anxiety and depression; getting back into full gear after a period of ‘burnout’; and ways to live in a more mentally healthy manner. The first dynamic interests me much mores than the latter two.

My network, of course, is only a tiny microcosm of the internet: The growing trend to “come out” with mental health journies in a bid to destigmatize mental health is a global one. Right now, the momentum behind this movement is strong.

Many moons ago, I set out to work in journalism. I received a degree in the field and freelanced, briefly, for publications.

But like many former journalists — and aspiring ones — market forces took me in the direction of communications instead. Nevertheless, a journalist’s inquisitive soul is not easily extinguished. There is a story here that I think needs to be discussed and explored.

It’s this one:

However laudable, “coming out” publicly as having been diagnosed with a mental health condition is a risky move. Destigmatizing is a noble aim, but we also live in a world rife with stigma.

I would love to explore how those who shared their journies dealt with that dynamic.

Here are some much more specific questions that I think will do a better job at getting to the crux of where I want to go with this piece:

  • Did you worry about what effect publicly disclosing your mental health diagnosis might have upon your career?
  • Did you worry that it might prejudice future job searches?
  • If you’re currently employed, did you worry about how this disclosure might impact your relationship with your boss and employer? If they reacted, how did they do so?
  • If you worried about these things and chose to share anyway, what prompted you to do that?
  • When did you choose to share? Where did you choose to share? And why did you choose to share at the moment that you did?
  • Those who are opposed to sharing mental health journies commonly couch their argument in terms of secrecy and shame: it’s better to keep these things private. How would you react to that?

An integral part of this story would be fielding responses to these questions from those prepared to share.

Ideally, I’d like to include a few attributed sources. But perhaps one or more unattributed sources could be added also.

Right now my thoughts about where I’d like to publish this are open-ended. Ideas range from mental health focused Medium publications to magazines and more generalist / mainstream outlets.

My objective is simply to open, or further, this important aspect of the conversation around mental health awareness. I believe it warrants a lot more discussion than it is currently receiving.

If you’re interested in sharing what motivated you to disclose and share your journey — and specifically whether professional consequences were on your radar when doing so — then please feel free to get in touch:

Please send responses / expressions of interest to:

Daytime: tech-focused MarCom. Night-time: somewhat regular musings here. Or the other way round. Likes: Linux, tech, beer.