I suggested in a post a week or so ago that many people who are medicated for so-called mental illness are holding traumatic secrets. I shared a noxious secret in that post. We live in a culture where it’s often not safe to reveal these things. The mental health system largely likes to pretend these things don’t happen or they pretend they have nothing to do with the depression and/or psychosis someone is experiencing. This means that the very place people in distress are expected to get help often actually retraumatizes people.
Here Audre Lorde speaks to women, but men too have atrocious traumas happen to them in this abusive culture we live in. These injuries need to be recognized by others. It’s part of the healing process. Speaking out and shedding the shame seems to go hand in hand.
Dare to speak your truth when the time is right. Trust your gut as sometimes it really isn’t safe to talk about. When it is, however, it can heal both you and those who hear it.
I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”
“I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.
“Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
“And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking. ~ Audre Lorde
Learn to process shame:
And remember THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU