Not to be maudlin, but I love Sylvia Plath. I first read The Bell Jar as a depressed teenage girl, hiding it in my pillowcase. I identified so strongly with Esther/Sylvia and her feeling of being on the outside looking in. As I’ve gotten older and thankfully grown out of my major depression, I identify more with Sylvia’s poems, and their tone of growth and healing.
I’m very proud to say that after 18 months of individual therapy and 20 weeks of group therapy, I have graduated from counseling at my local rape crisis center.
It was an emotional last session; my therapist Anna, reassured me that I am always welcome to participate in any of the group sessions they offer after we talked about my plans for the future. Then we went straight into the last session of group therapy, with the 4 women who participated through all 20 weeks.
Those women are, quite possibly, the strongest, best women I know.
Together, we ached. It is a strange and powerful feeling to know that everyone in the room knows your biggest secret, and shares it. Those weeks together were like a movie montage — laughing, crying, hugging. Usually in the same session.
The #MeToo movement has had a similar feel to me.
A shared background, interpreted individually, bringing people together across all social lines. That has contributed to the smooth transition out of therapy and back into “civilian” life. I hope that we, as a society of interconnected social media accounts, continue this feeling of community and allow more survivors to come forward and share their stories. Waiting, aching, healing — and now, feeling more complete than I have in years.
Please take from this that not only is it okay to speak out: it is good. Not only can it help you heal, but others can use your strength as a weapon in their own battles. Keeping an open discussion about mental health is really important for helping to end stigma and shame. Its okay not to be okay.