I haven’t wrote anything in a while. I have been afraid, ashamed- my confidence shaken.
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with someone that I look up to and they revealed (with no intended malice) that people had been talking about me and my willingness to be open about my struggle with mental illness. Hearing my story made people uncomfortable. In a small Southern town, such topics are not discussed out in the open… they are reserved for back porches and whispered breath.
Nearly a year after I had first shared my story through a video, I was heartbroken, embarrassed, scared, and uncertain. Had I made the right choice? Is my story worth sharing? Am I doing more harm than good? These questions filled my thoughts and made it impossible to even consider writing- wouldn’t I just be giving “the talkers” more ammunition?
The last month has been FULL of changes and challenges. I have questioned whether or not my story is worth sharing. I have gotten engaged and started wedding planning. I have struggled with horrible anxiety. I have decided to move (again) for the 7th time in 8.5 years. I have finally figured out “what’s next” in terms of my career. It has been easy to put off things like self-care, blogging, pursuing what makes me happy- storytelling.
But today, that changes. I have been so lucky to attend a general assembly for a fantastic group that focuses on the health and wellness of college students. We got to take best worst selfies together, talk about vulnerability and courage, and tackle the insane task of learning to love ourselves. I got to ask my favorite question- how are you… no really, how are you?
The bravery that I saw in that room reminded me of why it is so important to keep talking about the difficult topics. We cannot be silent. We must continue to tell stories to change lives. Because the most powerful weapon against fear is love and learning to love yourself may be the ultimate training for that battle.