Image of Alyssa Cypher, a nonbinary woman with red hair, staring at the camera. Text reads "Mental illness was a label assigned to me until I took ownership of my identity."

Background: I’ve been working on this piece for PublicSource since around October of last year. Writing it was a long and drawn-out process for me. Initially, I wrote the piece in a matter of hours, spilling out onto the page a narrative that I have longed to write for years. Something that I felt was truly from myself, not serving the interest of any other person, organization, or platform.

Reading what I wrote was terrifying, mainly because of that realization. I wasn’t sure how the piece would be received, if people would label me as crazy, or dangerous, or stigmatizing. If I really wanted people to know this stuff about my life. I stared at my screen for weeks unable to edit the piece, wondering if I should just tell PublicSource that I didn’t want to publish it anymore. But finally, the piece was ready to publish, and I had to let go. I’m glad I did.

Overall, the reception has been positive. Way more positive than I could have imagined. Yes, some people did, rather openly, label me as crazy, dangerous, and stigmatizing after reading my article. [It’s a strange thing that people feel the need to debate the identities of others. I’ve never related to such insulting and paternalistic nonsense.] But it didn’t matter to me, because finally publishing something so true to myself felt amazing.

Read the article here.