At a young age, mental illnesses had an impact on my life in various ways— personally, loved ones, strangers. Connecting with people in times of pure, still darkness came naturally to me—of course, I mean when others came to me for help.
Maybe it was because of the darkness in my life— the overwhelming, bottled up pain, hurt, struggle within me—that I feared showing other people. I grew up in a household that believed and conformed to society’s ugly lies: you’re alone, you have too much to be grateful for to be upset, happiness is a choice, being an athlete you should be strong and that if I shared my true struggling self then there would be something wrong with me, making me not “normal.”
After losing a friend to suicide, parents getting divorced, watching addiction take over my sister’s life, tearing my ACL and taking on all the other random obstacles life brought, living in silence became too loud for my mind. Believing and living the lies that society has placed on mental illnesses—keeping silent in struggle—ended up leaving me in an even darker state. So, just like many others, I searched the web for some sort of answer, sign, connection or anything, with the goal to find hope or safety about life. And I did. I read blogs posted by organizations, just like this one. This is where and how my healing began. I started believing that I was worthy of my story. Not only to live it, but to share it. To reach out in moments of darkness, loneliness and struggle.
Why? Because I’m not alone. And guess what? Neither are you.
I can’t explain why the feeling of not being alone is comforting or healing to me. I’m the type of person that will do anything for someone in need to help take away their pain. So why would I want anyone else feeling the way I felt if I felt so much pain, numbness and struggle?
It has been six years since reading the first blog that led me to the start of my journey of healing by sharing my story. There’s something comforting about feeling understood by friends, family or even strangers.
The truths that I have experienced, discovered and lived out throughout these past six years on this journey are endless. Now, let me tell you the truths I now live by daily: you are worthy of your story. To live it and share it. You are not weak in telling others about your pain. There are reasons, never-ending, to be hopeful about life or better days are ahead. Help is real because the most beautiful things are created and found in darkness/struggle. The biggest lie that society has convinced people to believe, including myself some years ago, but turns out to be the most important truth about life and that I currently live by is this:
You are not alone. Your story is important and worthy of sharing.
My hope is that you’re still reading this. That you find some sort of connection. There is significance in the timing of life— in me writing this and you reading this. The world is a brokenly beautiful place and, without you, it wouldn’t be whole.
I’m here. I’m listening.
Share your story, message, poem, quote, photo or video of hope, struggle or recovery. By sharing your experience, you can let others know that they are not alone.