You Are Not Your Disease

You Are Not Your Disease

Monday for The Root, I wrote a piece about my personal struggle with mental illness for Mental Health Awareness Month. For my piece, I focused on learning to accept my diagnosis after I was “outed” as mentally ill by an internet troll. Who strangely wanted to take credit for me being hospitalized. So weird. 

A local blogger outed me after I wrote a MySpace post about being sad. He had previously, and persistently, contacted me about reviewing his self-published book, but I had no interest in reviewing it. He, weirdly, seemed to want to take credit for driving me to “madness.” It was true that at the time I wrote the post, I had wanted to die, but it wasn’t over a future 1-cent-royalty book on Amazon Kindle.

But his writing about something personal in the most tacky and exploitative way didn’t help the war I was waging inside. After all, I wasn’t ready to tell everyone about my diagnosis. I hadn’t even told some members of my family, yet now, for anyone who searched me on Google—for years—his tawdry post would be the first thing to pop up. When I had job interviews, people would ask me about it. When I went on dates, the guy would bring it up. It followed me like a lingering stench, when I was trying so hard to “fake” normalcy and failing.

I fell into a deep, dark hole, believing that I was worthless if everyone knew the truth. I wasn’t at peace with my diagnosis back then, which sounded serious and scary to me. So knowing that my secrets were always one Google search away haunted me.

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