What makes something a private issue?

Someone I follow on Instagram has recently shared her experience of having a miscarriage. Although it was a way to express her feelings, she also wanted other people who had experienced a miscarriage to know they weren’t alone. She talked about the struggle of getting through it even with lots of support and how hard it must be for some people who don’t necessarily have the same help she got. 

Later on, she posted on her story that some people disagreed with her sharing her experience and with others sharing their experiences in return, in the comments. Apparently, some thought it was a private issue that people shouldn’t be sharing on social media. It got me thinking about what makes something a private issue. Like she said in her post, people often talk about a miscarriage once they have had a baby. So is it the struggle that makes it a private issue? 

I don’t believe anything has to be a private issue unless the person affected wants it to be so. Everyone processes things differently. We should be able to reach out and speak out if that’s what we want to do. Sometimes it can be really therapeutic to do so. Some people write things down to get them out of their system but never share. That might be how they process their feelings. Other people feel the need to share those emotions, to interact with others who went through a similar thing. I don’t see why people have a problem with others doing that. I think there are so many things we feel uncomfortable talking about and they are often the matters that we do need to communicate to one another. 

This also got me thinking about my own experiences of similar reactions from people who made me feel like I couldn’t talk about something, especially in regards to mental health. I remember a time in high school when I talked to my ex-boyfriend at a party. I was drunk and actually in a really bad place at the time. We had been talking for a while and getting on quite well. I felt the need to confide in him. It was like I had been wearing a mask and the real me wanted to burst out. Eventually, I started opening up but he cut me off with something along these lines: “just have another drink, no one likes talking about that rubbish”.

I know lots of people have experienced something similar where they try to confide in someone, but are either shrugged off or told they will be okay. Please don’t do this. If someone opens up to you, you need to understand how hard it is for that person to do it. You don’t need to have all the answers. You don’t even need to have any. But you need to listen.

Rochelle