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Why do I talk about mental health?

"When you are born in a world you don't fit in, it's because you were born to help create a new one." - Unknown

I often get questions and comments on why I talk about mental health and my struggles with it. Whether it's here on social media or in real life. Most are positive. Some tell me how brave I am for sharing. Some thank me for sharing. Some are struggling themselves. Some don't approve. Some judge.

My answer: Because I want to. Because I feel it's important. Because it helps me to accept myself. To love all of me, not just the parts that are approved of by others. By society. I share to honor myself and everyone else that think they're alone in this. You are not. I am not. It's just that we don't talk about it enough. I don't think the stigma around mental illness is going to go away unless we talk about it. I also find that the more i talk about it, the better i feel. It takes away some of the power it has over me.

I really feel that we cannot go on like this. With people taking their own lives because they don't feel like they have a place in this world. Because they don't fit into the mold. Because they respond to negative experiences differently than what's considered normal. A lot of people who are struggling have been through horrifying experiences and I sometimes think it's a miracle that they're still standing. Not everyone has a support system that can help them get through their sruggles. Some were raised by people who should not have been allowed to have children. Some have been through war. Some were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. And some met the wrong person or people.

PTSD, Panic disorder, Anxiety, Depression, addiction, eating disorders... You name it. These are all valid responses to difficult experiences. And everyone responds to different experiences in their own way. And that is okay.

The point I want to make is that we do not know another person's full story. What they've been through. What they are carrying. Who they can or cannot turn to for guidance. Therefore we should not judge. Maybe you wouldn't break down by a particular experience, but someone else might. Because like I said, we are all different.

The stigma about mental illness is the problem, not those who stuggle with it.

I am at a place where I don't really care what someone might think or say about my struggles. I know that my struggles are valid. I know how strong I am. And someone else's judgement doesn't define me. It's just an opinion. Not a truth. There was a big shift in my life when I realized this. A weight was lifted off my shoulders. And I felt a little freer.

I think the ultimate gift you can give to yourself is to be yourself. Without apology. To respect the beautiful person that you are. There's only one of you. Don't hide that gift from the world. You have a right to be here because you were born.

Life isn't easy. And it's okay to fall apart. It's okay to not be someone else's definition of strong. To put up a facade. It's okay to show emotions, otherwise we wouldn't have them. I think true strength is authenticity. That takes enormous courage. To stand up for yourself and who you truly are in a society that wants nothing but for you to fit into a mold.

I think that if we were more accepting and showed understanding and empathy towards each other, this world would be a much better place. And I think that fewer people would choose to end their lives prematurely.



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