Life can be incredibly cruel, I know this first hand. I spent a vast majority of my life feeling sorry for myself and wishing I wasn’t here. Why couldn’t I have an easier life? Why did I have to feel neglected and unloved? Why did I have to be sexually abused? WHY ME?! It has been incredibly difficult for me to find the light at the end of the tunnel but coming out the other side, I realize I’ve been dealt these cards so I can show others that the darkness will not be all you ever know. It’s been heavy on my heart to share my story and I’m thankful you are joining me on this journey.
I know people will judge and make assumptions about me, and honestly, I’m okay with that. A year ago I would have been horrified at the thought of blasting my inner thoughts and demons to the world but there is power in healing and therapy. One of my biggest issues with society is the stigma we’ve put on mental health, and people with “problems.” With all the movements that have developed over the years (Me Too, Black Lives Matter, etc.) you think we’d have come farther. Somewhere along the line, mental health issues slipped through the cracks. So, what better way to start a movement than to speak up for myself and others who’ve yet to find their voice.
The hardest part for me was always figuring out who I could share my story with. I kept quiet for years and it affected every aspect of my life. It caused me to push people away and close myself off to new opportunities. So I suffered. I suffered at home. I suffered in school. I suffered in mental institutions. I suffered and I struggled. Silently. And it almost killed me. However, I no longer feel the need to hide and project myself as someone I am not. So, I’m here to share my story with the world to hopefully help someone feel less alone.
In my 26 years of life I’ve lived through and experienced more than my fair share of abuse, pain and trauma. I know others have it worse than I do and in no way am I trying to trump them or claim my story is worse; however, pain and trauma are relative. What I have experienced is the worst thing I can imagine, just the same as someone else and their story. I don’t feel the pain of others’ experiences but I feel mine. We only know what we’ve lived through.
I have nothing to apologize for. I am not ashamed and I am fully prepared to bear myself and the darkest corners of my mind. I have a long list on my medical chart: bipolar I with homicidal idealizations, PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, more than one plan for suicide and two stints in the psych ward. I’m not going to say I’m “proud” of all my acronyms and diagnoses but I damn sure am not going to apologize or allow society to make me feel as though I am less than. This life I’ve lived has certainly not been a walk in the park but, if I’m completely honest, I wouldn’t change any of it. I am proud of who I am and how hard I’ve fought to be here.
As I said, I know some people will think differently of me for what they read in this blog and that’s completely fine with me. I am PROUD. I have fought the fight and come out on top. My hope through all this is that one person knows they aren’t alone. To show you you have nothing to be ashamed of. To let you know that you don’t have to apologize to anyone or explain yourself if you don’t want to.
Please know, the people who cast judgement are just uneducated (it has nothing to do with you!) and the good thing is we can help them open their hearts and minds to things they don’t understand. Maybe they’ve been fortunate enough and haven’t experienced the things you and I have been through. Or, perhaps, they are scared of things they don’t understand. It is easy to turn away from things that make you uncomfortable or you aren’t familiar with. We will expand on this down the line and, hopefully, by speaking up and sharing our stories, we can show people that it’s not as scary as they think.
There is too much pain in this world and it’s time society stops adding to it. Whatever it is you’ve been through, whatever your story is… I’m proud of you for fighting the fight, and I am SO happy you’re here. I know most people struggling to tread water right now feel as though they are alone. Please know that in your moment of pain and emptiness, you are one of millions feeling this at this exact moment in time and there is hope.
If there’s two thing I’ve learned to be true: (1) there are a million more just like me (2) we all cry ourselves to sleep because we think we are the only ones. The key is to talk. Open up. Do not hide because you fear judgement from people who do not understand. You are strong. You can be YOU — and no one should ever have to fear being themselves. If people stopped hiding then others would see they are not the only ones who think THOSE thoughts or feel THOSE feelings.
The one thing I wish someone had told me when I felt as though I was drowning is that I was not alone. There is strength in fighting to be here and taking a helping hand when it’s offered. I hope we get to the point of normalizing mental issues and letting people know they are safe and loved regardless of their “issues”.
Mental health struggles shows itself in many forms. Sometimes people seem sad or reclusive. Other times it shows in suicide, self-destructive behavior, and anger. I know all of this too well, and I refuse to stay quiet and sweep it under the rug. We’ve been quiet far too long and we need to speak up and normalize our struggles. It’s been a long and terrifying road, but it’s one I need to share. I will no longer allow people to make me feel ashamed or as though this is taboo and only to be discussed behind closed doors. I hope in sharing my story that you will find the strength to share yours.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, I promise it’ll all be alright. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to feel your pain. Most importantly, it’s okay to have mental health struggles.
I’m proud of you. This blog is for you (and a little bit for me).