Meg Hutchinson — Speaking out about mental illness


The breakdown was 2006 and the first
time I spoke publicly was 2011. I was writing songs about it and that’s what
encouraged people to start asking for the story. I was always able to sing
about it. For some reason that felt safe, but speaking about it felt terrifying.
And the first time they asked me, I remember it was like weeks leading up to
it where I felt like all of those trauma circuits were just lit up and I just
thought, I don’t–I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go into this story again.
But when I spoke that day in Minneapolis and I looked out at all the
families, and I looked at the families that had lost children, I looked at the
families that were supporting each other through it and I saw that it was doing
something, that being up there–as uncomfortable as it was in the beginning,
and it’s gotten a lot easier–but that I was able to turn something that had been
so terrifying to me into something that could serve other people and there was
a sense that having survived there was a responsibility. When I was going through
the worst of it I did I felt like there weren’t enough stories of young people.
There wasn’t enough. I was hanging on to Kay Redfield Jamison books for dear life,
you know, carrying them around with me. But I felt that there there weren’t
enough people my age talking about it, and there wasn’t enough giving me a
sense that my brain would come back and that there was something on the other
side. And I think to to speak about it started to feel more and more like a
responsibility. As someone who had gotten through it. And people gave me the
courage. The courage didn’t come from me. People just came up over and over to me
after after I spoke and said, I needed that, I got something I can work with out
of that.

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