More often than not we find ourselves struggling in silence with our own version of mental illness.
#BellLet’sTalk Day was this past week so naturally it felt appropriate to write a post about the stigma surrounding mental health and to explain why it can be important to share with others how you feel.
I begin by telling a personal story about a friend whose ease and honesty while discussing mental health amazed me and how it has changed my own will and openness to share my personal story.
I had known my friend for a couple of months or so before one day a casual exchange between the two of us truly exemplified how simple it is to break the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness. My friend and I were sitting in a small office space hosting our typical weekly office hours as part of our graduate program’s teacher assistant responsibilities. We sat there discussing school and life when she so casually added to the conversation that she had previously been diagnosed with anxiety. Without skipping a beat she continued talking as if she didn’t just drop a giant mental health truth bomb right in front of me. She brushed it off like it was no big deal. I was amazed. This was the first time someone has ever been so open and honest about their mental illness with me in a way that felt so natural.
I don’t know if she even knows this, but that moment forever changed my perspective on talking about mental health. She broke the stigma for me. A subject such as anxiety went from being taboo to normalized in a matter of seconds.
Little did she know that her willingness to open up and share her personal mental health journey made me feel so much less alone. From that point on I knew that I forever had someone I could reveal my own struggles about anxiety to and confide in her.
Because of the boldness of my friend, I want to share with you that despite having a blog about self-love & self-care I have endured my own feelings of anxiety and depression over the past five years. Actually, the reason I began this blog was to help heal my wounds and restore a little hope back into my life. I have struggled with mental health’s ups and downs. Panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, restless sleep, lack of motivation to get out of bed.
Within the past year I have found effective ways to assist in managing it. In the beginning I was fortunate to have an amazing therapist who spent countless hours helping me navigate through my emotions and guide me toward effective coping strategies to learn how to make day-to-day feel manageable. But to be completely honest, since that conversation in that small office, I have become more honest with my family & close friends about my struggles. Opening up has made a world of difference because those people you share it with begin to share their struggles too. And then suddenly you begin to feel much less alone.
Everyone deals with their own version of mental illness, and if you’re out there struggling in silence like I was, I hope that by me sharing my story you can feel at least one eighth less alone in the struggle.
Your mental health matters.
– Liv ✌🏽💜