I'm Not 'Brave' For Being Open About My Mental Health, I'm Simply Accepting Reality

I'm Not 'Brave' For Being Open About My Mental Health, I'm Simply Accepting Reality

Calling me "courageous" does nothing but continue to perpetuate the stigma.

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I regularly speak in schools, sharing my mental health journey. It's heavy. It's raw. It's real.

I talk about anxiety, depression, self-harm, and bipolar disorder. Not the things we typically like to talk about, right?

But I am committed to advocacy, to being part of the movement to de-stigmatize the conversations around mental health.

So when a woman came up to me and told me I was so "brave" for standing up and sharing my story, I was extremely taken aback, even offended. The first thing I thought to myself was, "Is this how cancer patients feel?"

They didn't ask to be diagnosed with cancer. I didn't ask to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This is simply what reality looks like for me. I have to take my medication every day. I have to go to therapy every week. And those are things I will have to do my entire life.

Yes, I will admit that it takes a certain level of bravery to do it the first time. Because people don't want to talk about how fucked up they are or how crazy they feel. They don't want to be perceived as fucked up or crazy.

But I am way past saying it out loud for the first time. I am deep into recovery. It isn't bravery anymore. It's a simple acceptance of what my life looks like.

Saying I'm brave minimizes my recovery process. It implies that you think I am weak, that I am an outsider who went through something so distanced from your own experience, something that you cannot fathom dealing with yourself, so you think I am ashamed.

I am not ashamed to be a woman living with bipolar disorder. I manage. I have gotten to know myself so that I know what works and what doesn't. I wouldn't still be alive if I hadn't.

Next time you see someone who is sick, whether it be physically or mentally, think before you call them brave. Think about how that might make them feel.

I did not sign up for this. I chose to fight this battle because the only other choice was not living anymore. And that was not the path I wanted to go down.

I am not brave. I am simply accepting of my reality. And I am willing to share because I know my story needs to be told so other young people won't have to experience what I did.

Trauma is avoidable through education. And my deciding to play a role in that isn't brave. It's necessary.

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Goodbye To The Boy Who Sexually Assaulted Me, You Can Never Hurt Me Again

In 30 minutes you turned my life around.

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*Content Warning: Sexual Assault*

You destroyed me.

You took away my innocence.

You were able to take away my dreams and aspirations.

You were able to shut me down in ways I didn't know to be possible.

In 30 minutes you turned my life around.

Broken trust, that is what you left me with. A broken sense of stability and love. Sometimes I sit and wonder why you thought it was okay to take advantage of me? Why it was okay to hit, and belittle me? You had me left feeling foreign to my own body.

But then I realize it is not my fault, it is yours. This is not a cry for help or an avenue to get attention this is me raising awareness that not only did you hurt me but others are experiencing the same thing you put me through.

My innocence was taken by you without consent. I sat in my room for hours after that night thinking of ways to end the life I was given. I spent countless nights waking up screaming with tears rushing down my face. I spent the majority of my future relationships scared of ever letting myself feel again. I was forced to take avenues of help like therapy appointments and trying different depression medicines. All of this resulted from the 30 minutes you could not control yourself.

Yes, you destroyed me. But now I'm stronger than ever, you will never be able to hurt me again.

With all of the pain and endless nights of contemplating my reason to live, I found strength, I found a way to share my voice and help others experiencing this pain. I am stronger now than I ever thought possible.

I wake up every day now appreciating the things in life that matter most to me, like the love my boyfriend has for me, the amazing family I am blessed with, and the amazing friends that helped me through this experience. I have learned that fighting for my life was worth it and I was not going to let you take that away from me.

I will not stop sharing my story, I have learned that sharing my experiences of sexual assault has let others feel less alone in the scary process that you, unfortunately, put me through. What you did to me was not okay. But through this, I have understood and realized my worth in this crazy rollercoaster we call life.

I found strength in the moments you made me the weakest, and I'm no longer looking back.

I have hope that other survivors will understand that their life is just as valuable. There is a bigger fight for happiness and finding it is not always the easiest but the journey getting there is worth it.

You ARE strong.

You ARE worth it.

It's NOT your fault.

You're NOT alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.

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Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.


Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.


Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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