Because of physically where my job is located, I get to see lots of people in a transitional part of their lives. Occasionally, one will “come out” as homosexual/bi/etc and the community will get a little rocked. I have to admit that I admire the courage to endure the pain of changing the perception everyone has of you. Those people have to accept the slings and arrows of others trying to reconcile what they thought was truth with what you have told them is truth.
In the south its similar (but defiantly not the same) to coming out as having a mental issue. People around you don’t know how to behave, they don’t 100% know they wont catch it, your whole family gets stigmatized, and somehow you are just not the same person to them anymore. Its weird. You know someone all your life then you become a kind of intimate stranger to them. They watch you like you are going to go all serial-killer on them with your mental illness but actually you are feeling sad for no real reason and you know at 2:30am you have an appointment with a panic attack. Not really serial killer stuff. They want to give you a safe distance but what would really help is a hug.
So, I spend most of the time in my mental health closet. I have told two people I have problems. One I am married to and one is an acquaintance who is open about her struggle. I was hoping that coming out to her would let some of her strength rub off on me. However, not so the case and back into the crazy cupboard I go.
I am sure if I was more open I would be in a better place but thats tons of years from now. tons.