Closets. We all have them. Some of you may have recently watched Ash Beckham’s Tedx video that has gone viral—her speech is titled “Coming Out of Your Closet.” She talks about how everyone has closets and how hiding behind these dark, scary closets is no way to live. Her speech really hit home for me and got me thinking about my closet(s). In particular, my “bipolar II disorder” closet and how I’m not 100% “out” of that closet. And how it is scary to “come out.”  But, as Ash states, it must be done.

I wanted to share with you all a few excerpts from Ash’s speech that were eye-openers for me…and are good reminders for all of us. I hope you enjoy these excerpts, and if you haven’t already, I encourage you to watch Ash Beckham’s full Tedx speech, “Coming Out of Your Closet.”

Ash’s speech starts out like this: “I’m going to talk to you tonight about coming out of the closet and not in the traditional sense, not just the gay closet. I think we all have closets. Your closet may be telling someone you love her for the first time…or telling someone that you’re pregnant…or telling someone you have cancer…or any of the other hard conversations we have throughout our lives. All a closet is a hard conversation. And although our topics may vary tremendously, the experience of being in—and coming out of—the closet is universal. It is scary, and we hate it, and it needs to be done.….”

“At some point in our lives, we all live in closets, and they may feel safe. Or at least safer than what lies on the other side of that door. But I am here to tell you, no matter what your walls are made of, a closet is no place for a person to live.…”

“So, the next time you find yourself in a pitch-black closet clutching your grenade, know we have all been there before. You may feel so very alone, but you are not. And we know it’s hard, but we need you out here no matter what your walls are made of. Because I guarantee you there are others peering through the keyhole of their closets looking for the next brave soul to bust a door open. So, be that person. And show the world that we are bigger than our closets and that a closet is no place for a person to truly live.”

So, how open or closed are your closets? In particular, your “mental health” closet, if you have one? My “bipolar II disorder” closet is generally about ¾ of the way open. Not bad, but there’s definitely room for improvement, and that door needs to be swung wide open! I’m getting there, one step at a time. It is my goal—and I hope for those of you in my same boat—that we all take bigger steps each and every day so that we can support Rebecca’s Dream in swinging that closet door open—in promoting awareness and compassionate understanding of depression and bipolar disorder as real diseases. Let’s do this, people!

Love and light,