Coming soon… Breaking the Code of Silence

Breaking the Code of Silence

mental-health-problemsThe coming week will see the first in a series of posts exploring taboo issues. Entitled “Breaking the Code of Silence”, the series is dedicated to fighting the stigma surrounding mental health issues, by bringing them out into the open and encouraging the sharing and discussion of subjects that people usually associate with shame, embarrassment and fear.

Most people’s lives will be touched by mental illness in one form or another, whether it’s through a personal problem, that of a family member, or simply being caught up in the repercussions of someone else’s suffering. Mental illness is common and widespread, just like the ignorance surrounding it. It’s time to educate and inform, to have those difficult conversations, and to bring into the light the issues that so many feel they have to hide.

I am committing myself to this cause by bringing my personal experiences to the page. By deciding to no longer be silenced, I am taking ownership of those experiences, instead of being a victim of them, and using them to encourage openness and education. I hope they give others the courage to share their problems with someone they trust, or help dispel the fear or misconception surrounding issues that affect us all. It’s a difficult task – the incidents are not easy to write about and I hope I don’t cause hardship to my family by bringing them into the open.

All the posts will be linking up with the Love All Blogs Mental Health Blog Hop.

Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. I know it’s hard to write about these things, when you write about them you may well feel drained and upset but a few days later and you’ll feel empowered and think of all those people who will read it and be helped 🙂 x

    1. Awww, thanks for the support and encouragement. I hope at the very least it means I’m no longer contributing to the stigma by not speaking about it. If it helps others to do the same, even better.

  2. I have many family and friends affected by mental illness and appreciate your brave endeavor to “break the silence”.

    1. Thanks Monica. Most people have some experience, however indirect, of mental illness – it’s something we can all relate to. The world is now a more tolerant place than it has ever been, it might still have a way to go, but getting our heads around the reality of mental illness would be major progress. We have to push for what we believe in.

  3. I agree. If people spoke up more, the outcome would lead to additional pluses besides the obvious one of reducing stigma. When you see a pick ribbon you automatically think breast cancer. We need more folks to speak out, not only to their friends and family, but to their government reps to allocate for more $ for research and better treatment. A universal logo for mental health would also be nice. (The National Allaince On Mental Illness has a silver ribbon, but most people don’t even know what NAMI is.)

    1. There’s still a strong feeling of “that could never happen to me. People have no interest until they are affected, by which time they themselves fall victim to the stigma and suffer in silence, or worse, denial.

  4. I like this idea! Although I’m pretty open about my issues, I am scared of some people finding out. It’s pretty taboo. I’m even scared to share my own blog via facebook in the case that I will be judged. I am kinda excited about this series, thanks for sharing!

    1. I used to feel that way, but then I realised I was just letting other people have the power to make me feel scared or ashamed. The biggest regret people ever have is living their lives by someone else’s rules. I already rue the years it’s taken me to get myself functioning on the same plane as most other people – I’m making up for lost time from here on in! I hope I see you on Facebook some time – in the meantime you’ll find me here. Go click the “Like” button, I’ll do the same for you someday… and thanks for signing up! 🙂

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