Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hi. It's me. April Rose.

Hi. It's me. April Rose. I know I haven't blogged in the past four months. So yeah. Here goes.

Let me start off by saying I don't want to be a hypocrite. If you follow me on twitter, you'll know how I feel about mental illness. I've probably even blogged about it here. But just in case you don't, I'll say it again.

Mental illness should be treated like any other physical illness. Mental illness is a type of physical illness because it involves the brain. Last time I checked, the brain is an organ, and hence physical. Mental illness has a huge stigma, a stigma it doesn't deserve. If you break your leg, you don't hide it from the people around you. You let them sign your cast. They *want* to sign your cast. They want to hear the story of how you broke it jogging in place (which, by the way, is exactly how I broke mine five years ago). And then, when you have physical therapy, you have no problem saying, "Hey, my leg isn't fully healed, but this here doctor's gonna give me some exercises to make it better."

That's what mental illness should be. That's what I want it to be. So yeah. Here goes. This is the part where I try not to be a hypocrite. Okay. This is hard. It shouldn't be, but it is. I don't know how you're going to judge me.

No more stalling. I'm just going to say it.

Tomorrow I start a program called partial hospitalization. It's now officially in my medical records. My chart says I have a "mood disorder." Depression, to be exact. I already knew this. You already knew it. It's just...I don't know how much I should share, but if my "mood disorder" is anything like a broken leg, then I should be okay with sharing it with you. Right?

Then why is it so hard?

Okay. I'm going to do it. My doctors are worried about me. They are worried about my safety. They're afraid I might do something to hurt myself. And...they might be right. I don't think I'd do anything like that. My logical self says I'd never do anything that'd ultimately end up hurting my family or my friends. But my brain isn't working exactly like it should, either, and I'm not sure if I can trust it anymore.

For the next two weeks, I'm going to enter intensive group therapy, five days a week, from nine am til three pm. And I'm scared. I have no clue what's in store for me. I've never faced a situation where telling the truth is so necessary, yet so possibly damning. There's a possibility that the truth might land me somewhere for a few days, maybe longer, where I won't even be able to come home. I don't know.

And that's not the only thing that has me worried. I don't know anything about what I'm getting myself into. I don't know who I'm going to meet. I don't know if the hospital will let me use my cell phone. Hell, I don't even know if I'm supposed to bring a lunch.

Why am I telling you this? It's because mental illness needs to be normalized. I should feel just as comfortable telling you about this as I would about my broken leg (which is an embarrassingly funny story, a story worth laughing about). Some day, I want this to be a story worth laughing about too (well, maybe not laughing, but I should feel comfortable talking about it). But it can't be, not until we normalize mental illness.

So I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this because, as scary as it might be, the bone still needs to be set.

Just please: don't hate. Don't think this lessens my ability to be a good teacher, a good writer, a good mother and wife, a good person. And for the people who know me, who are hearing about this for the first time in this blog post: before you get angry at me or judge me for this, know that you'd feel just fine learning about a broken leg this way.