I try to be honest about my struggles with mental illnesses for two reasons. First, because it is therapeutic for me. It forces me to examine my demons in a way that only pouring them into words can accomplish. It gives me new perspective. Sometimes that wounds me more. Overall though it is definitely for the better.
Yet the other reason, and perhaps the more important reason, is so that others know they are not alone. I have talked to and heard from people I know and complete strangers about how open I am about my struggles, about their struggles, and about how the stigma has in some cases prevented them from taking action or talking about it sooner. Many who suffer still suffer in silence, and that is not okay. It is okay to not be okay sometimes, but know that you are not alone and that you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many resources out there for people who are having a tough time of it.
My hope is that by sharing my story, by shining a light on my demons, I do my part to break down the stigma, even if it is only in the smallest of ways. Because if I chip away at the stigma and inspire others to do the same, and they inspire more and more people than someday, stigma will be a thing of the past. And I really hope to see that day.
I started this platform to share my struggles, yes. But my hope is that others would speak up and be okay with publicly sharing their struggles here as well. My belief is that someday there will be conversations about mental illness happening on the societal level, that struggling will not be something to suffer through in silence, but rather is something that will be talked about openly and respected.
Every single person struggling with mental illness is brave, because they wake up and fight against demons that are always with them, that sometimes knock them down. And they still fight. If you are struggling you are brave. And you are stronger than your mental illness. And together, we are stronger than the stigma.