After a rough patch of mental illness and a lot of reflection, today’s Friday Feels blog post explains Why I Share My Struggle.
If you follow me on this blog or any of my social media channels, this statement will come as no surprise: I suffer from mental illness. I have anxiety. I get depressed. Some days, simply taking a shower triggers a panic attack. At times, I have starved myself in attempt to cope with what felt like an out of control illness.
And there should be no shame in saying that.
Nothing about my mental illness makes me a bad person. But unfortunately, we live in a society that casts shame upon mental illness. Our culture tells us that if we want to succeed, have friends, or get a job, that we have to be happy and stable (or at least appear to be) at all times.
Lately, I have spent a lot of time thinking about sharing my struggle. I’ve fought thoughts like “Don’t tell people that, they’ll think differently about you” and “No one wants to hear your sob story.” But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized the importance of sharing my experience.
I share my struggle for three reasons…
- For myself
- For you
- For the world
I could start and end this post with one sentence: Writing about my mental health struggles and sharing them with my followers is healing for me. End of story, enough said. There are other motivations but at its essence, this blog is my therapy. (Don’t worry, I do also see a clinical psychologist.) When it started, I was trying to process my plunge into the dangerous “clean eating” world. Now that I’m searching for a lifestyle of more balance and self-kindness, writing about my ups and downs helps me draw connections.
Did anyone else grow up in the Xanga era? I had an account and remember writing about my depression and the oppressive sadness I battled in middle and high school. There were poems and lyrics and angry rants about my parents. (What can I say? I’ve always been expressive…) But it helps me! I’m not the kind of person that can keep things bottled up. When something is on my mind, it festers and brews in my conscious until I open up and let it out.
And while writing selfishly nurses my fragile ego, sharing it to a network of other people makes it even more powerful.
You deserve to know that you are not alone. That someone on the other side of the computer screen understands what you are going through. When I talk about the things that pain me, it’s with the hopes that someone will read it and find solace. In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve had friends and strangers reach out to tell me that something I shared resonated with them. That they were able to find comfort in my words.
Let me take a moment to remind you of a few things…
- You are strong…….. but it’s ok to feel weak.
- You don’t suffer in solitude…… but it’s ok be spend time alone.
- You are entitled to your feelings…… but they won’t last forever.
You also deserve authenticity. You deserve to know that even when things look bright and sunny on Instagram, a storm may be creeping up on the horizon. In our social media era, we see so little of people’s authentic lives. We see smoothie bowls and bridal parties and the very best pieces of daily life. But so often it’s a lie. I won’t ever lie to you. *blows a kiss*
For the World
Finally, as grandiose and dogmatic as it may come off, I share with intentions of sparking a shift in our culture. The world doesn’t need less people talking about mental illness, it needs more. And the more we talk about it, the more “normal” it becomes. And that normalization relinquishes mental illness of its power.
I can only imagine how freeing it would be to be able to say to tell friends or family or work “I’m having a bad mental health day” without fretting about their reaction. It’s becoming more and more acceptable, but there’s still the constant fear of judgment or repercussions. It’s time to start chipping away at that stressor. And the only way to do that is to keep. talking. about. it.
That’s all I have for this Friday Feels. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being brave and strong. Thank you for letting me know if you relate or need help or want to hear more. Much love.