Everyone in my life knows of my mental health struggles. Since I came to terms with the fact that this was something I could not tackle on my own nearly a decade ago, I have been an open book on the topic. To me, there was never any stigma attached. I have brown hair, blue eyes, a passion for writing, great taste in music, a love of reading, and I deal with a number of mental illnesses.
I’ve had reactions of mild surprise, reactions of curiosity, reactions of understanding and empathy, and reactions of support. Never has anyone backed away from me, nor have they shielded their children’s eyes like they used to do with witches.
Many of you know my “offline” name, Stephanie, it’s no secret. But I still appear online as Ruby; after such a long time I have found that moniker a comfortable and freeing one to work under.
I have a very loving and supportive family. I have no children in any traditional sense, but I do have three girls whom I consider daughters of my heart, aged 15, 12, and 7. The elder two I was a nanny for, the youngest is the 12-year-old’s sister, and I love them as though they were my own.
I have Bipolar I and a whole hat full of anxiety disorders. I won’t say they don’t define me — on certain days, in certain situations, they most definitely contribute to and even shape Who I Am. But many other things define me, too, and so I don’t worry too much about the pieces of me that sometimes frustrate and limit. After all, we’ve all got our share of those, haven’t we?
I don’t really produce much original content for this site (or any other) these days. I had a good run blogging, more than three years, but it isn’t what I need any longer. I do still have an intrinsic desire to educate people, to eliminate misconceptions, misunderstanding, and the rampant stigma which plagues the general public’s perception of the mentally ill. I don’t want my children or anyone else’s growing up seeing mental illness as something that must be hidden, or discussed only in hushed voices with certain people.
That is why I still work behind-the-scenes here as the admin, as well as coordinating The Official Blog For Mental Health Project. I find immense pleasure in helping to connect a community that is so focused on education, activism, and most importantly, support. I believe I have a sacred obligation, not just to the next generation but to all of those, past and present, who have been silenced by fear and by stigma. I want change, and that doesn’t come easily.
© Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.