By Danei Edelen
"Thank you for sharing your story; you are so courageous," a woman said to me at one of my “In Our Own Voice” presentations. As usual, I smiled and thanked her. It always surprises me when people thank me for speaking out—that the “speaking out” aspect is what they believe is most courageous. Yes, speaking out is cathartic. But when you’re like me, living with mental illness, what’s far more courageous is the journey to speaking out.
Is speaking out courageous? Maybe to you. Speaking out is a relief. Speaking out is sharing my story with others so they can understand how many people fight invisible battles every day. I am thankful that I have the ability and opportunity to speak; I know so many people who live with mental illness who cannot speak out. But it is far from my most courageous act.
Danei Edelen is married and lives with her husband and son in Cincinnati, Ohio. Danei owns Instant Marketing LLC. Danei has a bachelor's degree and over 20 years in marketing. She is also a NAMI presenter for the Southwestern Ohio chapter speaking to groups of all ages to help end the stigma. She blogs for the Challenge the Storm, and the Mighty. Danei enjoys, reading, writing, exercise and learning about nutrition.
We’re always accepting submissions to the NAMI Blog! We feature the latest research, stories of recovery, ways to end stigma and strategies for living well with mental illness. Most importantly: We feature your voices.
Check out our Submission Guidelines for more information.
Call the NAMI Helpline at
text "NAMI" to 741741
Find Your Local NAMI