Content Warning: discrimination, suicidal ideation, violence
When I write about mental illness, I use the terms: disability, identity, and relationship. However, no word captures what mental illness means to me. Mental illness is somehow both a part of me and a separate, intangible entity. Every day is an exhausting struggle to live with and understand it, and during my first year of graduate school, I experienced covert ableism. This harm caused a long and tedious recovery process on top of ongoing unlearning and healing. Through recovery, I adopted the practice of “embracing the whole” of emotions, feelings, symptoms, and triggers. I questioned the concept of “professionalism” emphasized in my assistantship, which often included dehumanizing emotions. However, I will not expend additional emotional labor to educate those who committed ableist actions. Instead, I will write in depth about my mental illness experiences to relate to folx who have a mental illness. Through this article, I hope that folx with mental illness can empower themselves to embrace the whole of their emotions and the authenticity of their experiences, honoring their own bravery and vulnerability.
Bocado, K. (2020). Mic Check? Mic Check! Amplifying Our Voices. The Vermont Connection, 41(1). https://scholarworks.uvm.edu/tvc/vol41/iss1/12