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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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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Sharing Your Struggle Is Worth Saving Someone From Their's

"I open up myself and my life for the ones who are holding on to hope for themselves so that they can learn to be happy with who they are."
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So, for anyone who knows me and/or follows me, I tend to post a lot of selfies, body pictures, self care videos, and physique updates. Yes, I get compliments, and shoutouts, along with a few randoms who I typically ignore. However, I have noticed that there has been a lot of questioning and side comments that what I'm doing is for attention, or why I feel the need to post pictures like that for everyone to see.

Now, maybe I have not been so clear in my captions, and comments. Maybe I have been a little blunt. But I figured I never really needed to give anyone an explanation for the million dollar "Why?" question. But, here I am giving you a very clear understanding.

For those of you who think I do it for attention, I feel sorry that your mind is that judgemental to assume such a typical justification. However, we are human, and most of us feel the need to assume answers to questions we are too afraid to ask.

It's not about getting compliments or reassurance. It's about promoting body positivity, strength, and self love. I have been through enough to realize that there are girls out there struggling with many of those issues. And I know that because many girls have messaged me, asking for help and advice. I post pictures, write articles, and open up myself and my life for the ones who are holding on to hope for themselves so that they can learn to be happy with who they are.

Sharing my story has not been easy. If I wrote this a year ago I would be 100% against anyone knowing what I have been and continue to be struggling with. But YOU, reading this, may be struggling with something that you are convinced will never pass.

~ ~ YOU, having a hard time accepting yourself, eating a salad and working out at the gym for hours upon hours. YOU are not living. YOU are consistently weighing yourself everyday to see if you're losing weight because the number you see is too high. And I say this with concern because I was once where you were. I once woke up everyday and looked at myself in the mirror with disappointment because I felt it was not enough. And then one day I ended up in hospital because it was more than enough.

Never will I step on a scale ever again. Your weight is just a made up number that someone came up with to decide the capacity of your body for medical purposes because somehow it's important to know according to society. YOU are healthy. YOU are strong. Your body does not have to be put through hell to be loved.

And I know it is hard, and I know it is tempting to squeeze your arms and suck in your stomach so hard that you can't breathe. But you can't live like that.

There is no need to freak out if you miss a day at the gym. It is OK to take a break. Go for the right reasons and never force yourself. When I start being corrupted by negative thoughts and tell myself that I NEED to go to the gym is when I really NEED to take a break. You don't NEED to go to the gym. You should WANT to go for personal reasons and goals. Never teach your mind that you NEED to force yourself to workout. You don't NEED to go on a diet. You don't NEED to stay away from sugary or fattening foods (unless your life is threatened by any of this). Anything you do should be a WANT. You should WANT to do all of those things to better your mental and physical health. The only thing you NEED is to take care of yourself and keep your mind in the right place.

You need to start healing. You need to start growing. Because one day you're gonna wake up, eighty two years old, wondering why you spent your whole life worrying about things that don't matter. Wondering why you never had the pleasure of eating that donut, or enjoyed a pizza with your friends.

Trust me on that. Give yourself the opportunity to grow, and be strong and healthy. Give your mind the opportunity to experience and understand. ~ ~

I will always continue to spread love and happiness to anyone who may need it. I do what I do for a purpose, with a purpose. That purpose is only for those who understand.

Stay beautiful.

Stay lit.

You are a queen.

Flaunt your body.

Be kind to yourself.

You are a warrior.

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