For almost four years I kept my diagnosis secret and during this time I also imposed my own exile from society. Before I became unwell, I was vibrant, social, I worked and had many friends, but when this illness was afflicted, I disappeared. I changed my number and also removed all social media profiles.
Two months ago I was given the opportunity to fulfil a dream of mine to give a TED X talk and I used this opportunity address the stigma with mental ill health but also to tell my friends and family who did not know why I had to disappear. This was met with such positive reactions. And, just this weekend I reactivated my Facebook and posted the link to my talk, I was anxious but i subsequently received innumerable private messages from friends who also suffer from conditions who also felt they had to hide and keep it quiet, including many responses from both acquaintances and old friends who have shown unprecedented support.
I write this post for those of you, who once like myself, may be too ashamed or afraid to be themselves, to tell others in fear of rejection. Your time will come when you will no longer feel afraid. I now feel free, previously this secret kept me enslaved.
If you do want to watch, here is my talk: https://youtu.be/RSSZxcVvgnQ