There are so many different sides to this story. So many depths, and facets to mental illness. So much behind the stigma, and so much more behind the warriors who are challenged by it every single day. This is just the view from my side of the fence.
“Handle With Care.” There are times that I wish I could affix this label to my forehead before leaving my house. Some days it would just make things so much simpler…but I’m not looking for pity or sympathy. I simply seek to find understanding, just as countless others do. Understanding that we are humans. That we having feelings and emotions. That we have an organ that has carved a different path for us than others.
I’ve been told that I come off as a very confident, put together person, and some days I’ve honestly had to laugh at that sentiment. “I’M confident and put together?!” Tell that to the laundry basket of mismatched socks sitting in my closet… Or the crumpled pile of kleenex that didn’t quite make its way to the garbage tin. I am not always confident, or strong. I have moments where I feel more fragile than a dried rose petal. Sometimes these moments last for just that, moments. Sometimes they last for hours, days, weeks. I’m not ashamed of the days that my sun doesn’t shine quite as brightly, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of yours either. Yin does not exist without yang. My light does not compete with the dark that sits beside it, or the fleck that rests within it. They are both a part of me, a part of my life, and so I am learning to love both of the halves that make me whole. I am seeking a better understanding of my inner self so that I can more appropriately share that with others; to break through the glass plate that separates us from each other. To remove the barrier, to create dialogue, to lift the stigma off and my fellow warriors up.
Every person has a past, a story. Whether that story is available in the public library for checkout or in a private home library depends entirely on the person. Each of us fights our battles in our own way. Some people eagerly share their stories, while others have a hard time even reading it to themselves. Whichever way you face your own battlefield each day, know that you are not alone in your fight. We all have our battle wounds. You are NEVER alone, and it is OKAY to not be okay. Each scar is a reminder that we have survived. We have overcome. We have conquered. We are BADASS.
Living with mental illness is not easy; in fact, it’s incredibly difficult. To always be fighting an internal battle that no one else is witness to; to carry not only everything heavy within you, but to also have the extra burden of the stigma that society has created towards it. It’s like carrying around a backpack full of textbooks that nobody else can see. It is arduous and punishing, and you are NOT alone. We are in this together. Do you know how remarkable and courageous you are to wake up each day and fight against the demons within you?
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, or are just prey to the trials that life brings – always remember, it is okay to not be okay. Every single one of us is faced with struggle at some point in our time on this Earth. Every single one of us has a strength within that we are unaware of. You are a warrior. You CAN conquer.
As we open up the lines of communication and start our conversations, let’s remember one thing – something that one of my favourite blondes delivers on a daily basis:
“Be Kind to One Another.”
I encourage anyone out there struggling to seek help in a way that you are comfortable with – whether that be a hotline, a doctor, a friend or family member. There are avenues out there available to you, and people out there who want to help. ❤
The shirt and bracelets in this post are from a pretty awesome little Canadian company, founded on the East Coast, called Wear Your Label. I first stumbled upon them last summer and fell in love with what they set out to achieve – and are surely on the fast track to doing so. They’ve created a clothing line to get the conversations about Mental Health Awareness flowing, while giving back in support of mental health initiatives.
Check them out at www.wearyourlabel.com or on social media @wearyourlabel !