“The furniture is heavy and uninviting. The air feels dense and stagnant. It feels like ages since I’ve been outside and experienced the warmth of the sun. My body is almost craving it. I don’t understand how a person is expected to achieve peace-of-mind here. Sharing a living space with people who aren’t prioritizing their hygiene at the moment has been interesting. Poor hygiene and our stories, it must be what’s bonding us.” –Journal entry from my hospital stay
I can’t find the right words to express how grateful I am to the people who showed their support when I “came clean” about my struggle with mental illness. I will never forget your kindness, understanding, and encouragement. Disclosing my personal struggle with mental illness was nothing short of liberating.
I chose social media as my outlet because I knew I could reach the most amount of people. Statically speaking, if I have 2,000 people in my social network 520 of them have some type of mental disorder. I did it for those 520 beautiful yet tormented souls. I wanted them to know that they’re not alone in suffering. Rather than offering a hotline number to call (which is great too!) I thought I would offer my story. Real life experience, real life struggles. I even promise to sprinkle in a few pro tips on harnessing the madness!
To those suffering, acknowledging your mental illness can feel like the end of the world, but it’s crucial in moving forward and becoming healthy. You must first acknowledge the problem before you can fix it. I love the quote “discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life” because even if you don’t see it now, there is always hope. Ignoring your illness or the illness of a loved one could potentially lead to very destructive or fatal results. This should be taken seriously. So what can we do? We can start small. We can start by becoming comfortable talking about mental illness. We can CRUSH THE STIGMA. We can start by educating ourselves so we can speak accurately and intelligently about mental illness. We can start by developing small habits that will bring us closer to optimal health. We can give ourselves the allowance to mess up, and to feel awful, as long as we’re cognizant that place is only temporary.
WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.
The most gratifying and powerful result of coming clean was that all of the sudden, people became vulnerable with me. They started reaching out to me with their personal struggles, or struggles they’ve experienced with a loved one. Turns out, we all know someone effected by mental illness no matter how perfect our lives may seem. My decision to become vulnerable acted as an invitation to discuss mental illness!! In exposing my truth I’ve found my power. In writing down my thoughts and sharing pieces of my experience, I’ve gained a different perspective and an outlet. I never asked for this to be my reality but here we are. It’s my story to share, so I’m going to share it. One thing I cannot emphasize enough is that people with mental illness are not any less lovable, reliable, capable, or honest than people with healthy brains. We’re people too, be kind to us.