Stigma and Anonymity

I mentioned yesterday that the woman in charge of the ‘Beirut in Portland’ project had completed editing my interview about the stigma associated with my mental health issues. I had a lengthy discussion with my therapist about what to do now and have e-mailed the woman to discuss where to go from here.

In the interview, which I may eventually post here, I talk openly about the struggles and stigma I have dealt with as an ‘anorexic junkie’ with BPD. One obvious offshoot of this stigma is the anonymity that I try to maintain with respect to this blog and, to a certain extent, IRL.

There are a lot of ways I could go forward at this point but most of them will wind up stripping away most, if not all, of the anonymity I’ve managed to maintain up until this point. There are compromises we could make regarding how the interview is posted online that would result in my name being only loosely coupled with the video but it would still be me talking about a lot of sensitive things that I’ve done. Part of the point of the project is to speak out in the hopes of reducing stigma but, now that I’m in the position to do something about it, the consequences of the stigma associated with coming clean about what I’ve done is scary.

Part of me just wants to ‘rip the bandaid off’ and post the video as-is, with my name attached to the video, and let the chips fall where they may. My most immediate concern in doing so is endangering my livelihood. My boss does know that I have a substance problem but believes me to be an alcoholic as opposed to a heroin addict. Given the support he’s given me so far, I don’t think I’d get too much blowback if he were to somehow stumble across the video (which is probably unlikely anyway). My therapist pointed out that if I were to be fired as a result of disclosing this information that I would have a very lucrative and winnable lawsuit on my hands (though I’d rather not have to go through anything like that). I’d be more worried about trying to get another job at some point down the road. I do like to think I’d get some credit for being brave enough to put my name next to a video like this, at least, and maybe some people would want me more as a result of that. Who knows? I’d kind of like to get to a place where I’m self-employed anyway, in which case that sort of thing wouldn’t matter, but I’m not there yet.

So, that’s where I’m at. In all seriousness, if any of you reading this have any comments or suggestions I would be very happy to hear them. The good news is that I’m not being rushed to make a decision and that if I ultimately choose to stay in the darkness, the woman who created the video with me will totally respect that. It’s just that I really would like to do this.

Please, give me feedback!

3 thoughts on “Stigma and Anonymity

  1. Honestly I don’t have any feedback to offer at all 😦 because it’s something incredibly brave and scary and I wouldn’t know if it would or wouldn’t be worth it.
    Good luck in deciding. Maybe you can show it to someone in real life and ask them what they think? Either way, you’re awesome…


    1. Thanks for your encouragement. I have bounced it off a couple of IRL friends and have gotten positive responses. I’ll most likely ‘come out’ with this video (in whatever way that ultimately looks like). And I’ll definitely let you know about my final decision.

      Liked by 1 person

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