Starting a conversation...

January 29, 2020

Starting a conversation...

I used to be like you. Why should I air my dirty laundry? Why should other people hear about my problems?
I had those same fears.
Life was good before mental illness invaded my world.
Bell Let’s Talk Day in 2018 was my very first honest post about my struggles and pain.
My gut told me I needed to put my heart out there.
Mental illness is a piece of my life that I’ve fought so hard to fix, a battle I fight everyday. A battle I do not always win.
Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are as real and destructive as any other illness. It is an illness of the mind. Like any other organ, the brain can get sick.
Mental Illness can destroy you from the inside out. It seeps into you and pulsates through your whole body that sometimes you don't know what’s controlling you.
A tidal wave that pulls you under, constantly dragging you up for oxygen and then pulling you back down again just as you get the chance to choke for air. And just when you think you've finally come up for good, an unsuspecting wave will come to tear you apart again. There is no life preserver. There is only darkness. Just you in the dark, grasping for air. That is what it feels like.

Listen, I know not everyone is as open like I am. Not everyone wants to call attention to their illness.
I want you to know that I get what it feels like to be scared to talk about having mental illness. Being vulnerable and opening up about our biggest struggles in life is never a walk in the park. But you know what? Every time I’ve opened up to someone in my life about my past, and about the fact that I have to manage my illness each and every day, I’m brought closer to that person just by sharing this invisible thing about myself.

By sharing my story, it has allowed me to see the shimmering light that can come from the fiercest darkness. That a person’s lowest point isn’t the end of their story, in fact, it’s usually the beginning. Because of mental illness I’ve grown more empathetic to the battles people face.

My story matters. And so does yours.
It’s okay not to be okay. Share your story. It gives others hope that they are not alone. That we are all in this together.
And when we combine our voices and speak out because we have nothing to hide, we cultivate a powerful sense of community. A community that broadcasts it’s okay to reach out for help.

I hope that through sharing my story, it will encourage those with similar experiences to discuss theirs. I also hope that through discussion, mental illness will no longer hold a negative stigma, and people can openly talk about what mental illnesses are and how to receive treatment. Life is too short not to take a brave stand against stigma, don’t you think?
We all deserve to live a full and healthy life.
We need each other in order to give meaning to the unthinkable and painful events we go through.
There are people out there who could be saved by reading your words, by being privileged enough to know your story.
And hey, what a great thing it is to know that we are not alone, we are not the only one that fights this horrid monster.
So Let’s Talk about it. #BellLetsTalk