Everyone has a story to tell. Sometimes speaking out and sharing that story is not easy because we become vulnerable to judgment from others. It’s why so many stay silent, we are a culture of perfectionism so exposing flaws is shameful.
I believe that through sharing and by speaking out, we build support. We let people know we care and they can be comfortable with reaching out and getting help. Writing this is difficult because I fear judgment, I fear people not understanding, I fear people not taking it seriously.
I hope it can create vulnerability, because through vulnerability we find courage and beauty within ourselves.
I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa during high school and after some ups and downs; I beat it. It has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders. Out of the 24 million, only 10% receive treatment. Ten percent. Thankfully I was part of that small percent.
The two biggest driving forces behind my recovery were my faith and my mom. My mama is my protector, my guardian, my rock, my angel and she was my biggest supporter. My faith, my relationship with God, is how I was able to understand my experience, how I was able to see the good from the bad.
For many people that I talk to, they don’t believe in a higher power. That’s ok, but I think it’s crucial to believe in something, to give up control and to depend on something other than yourself when you’re struggling.
Surrender to the fact that fighting what is true is useless. Surrender to the fact that depending on and believing in something other than yourself can mean anything: your friends, your family, a program, anything that brings you help because you cannot do it alone. I surrendered, and although each person’s story is his or her own, recovery is possible for everyone.
I unashamedly believe that everything in my life I owe to God and every blessing has been given from above. By faith I am able to embrace my flaws, and by faith, I am empowered to share my story.
I believe that when we talk about mental illness the thing that needs to change is our attitude, our perspective, and the way we talk about it. I stopped thinking about my past with a resentful and bitter attitude, and the moment I did that, everything changed for the better. Every experience I’ve had has led me to where I am. My journey was chosen for me and I believe we are given what we can handle.
So many of us know a family member or a friend who has struggled in some way. Even if you cannot name someone, I can bet someone you know is struggling. 1 in 4 adults have a diagnosable mental illness. Many do not seek help or talk about it because of the stigma associated with mental illnesses. Silencing those struggling and silencing the issues only further blocks our efforts to help.
Everyone should feel comfortable getting help, no matter where the pain is coming from. These issues are closer than you think. It could be your best friend, your mom, your boyfriend, or the girl sitting next to you in class. I hope, and I ask that we stop ignoring the issues and that we support those around us.
For those struggling, know that you’re not alone. Know that the fight is worth fighting and more importantly; you are worthy of that fight.
I want you to crave life and all that it offers and not to fear it. Embrace the people around you, grab onto those who lift you up, and let go of those who hurt you. Some days are hard but don’t let the darkness overpower the light, because there is so much good, even if you have to work hard to find it.
Each day is brand new and we are given a choice. So for those fighting an individual battle, and those fighting for someone else, I ask you to speak up. Open up and start the conversation about mental health.
No one is immune. Become vulnerable, lean into discomfort, listen and talk to the people around you.