#BellLetsTalk

Hi Marshmallows!

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It’s one of my favourite days of the year  

Just a few years ago, I would have had a very different reaction for this day (hint: it wouldn’t have been excitement…). I would have done everything I could to spend the day like a hermit and avoid conversing at all costs.  It’s a dark place to be in when even you’re afraid of your mental health struggles.

However, today is a different day and a different time; the further I come on my mental health journey, the easier it gets to talk about the obstacles I face and advocate for abolishing the stigma so others feel safe in sharing their stories, too.

So – #BellLetsTalk about how it’s OKAY to make noise about Mental Health.  It’s OKAY to struggle and talk about those struggles.  It’s OKAY to have bad days.  It’s OKAY to give an honest answer when someone asks you, “So how are you REALLY doing?”.  

Donning my #AnxietyAlliance tee proudly from @wearyourlabel to let others know that I’m anxious, too, and it’s a welcome and safe invitation to enter a conversation about it

All of us have hardships and struggles, and lately my anxiety has been a real big one for me.  I’ve had crippling days; days where I can’t get out of bed, let alone even think about leaving my house.  Days where I feel like I’m not good enough for anything.  Days where it all just becomes so overwhelming.  Days where I honestly think things will just never, ever start to get better.  But they do, and they have.  Had I known that reaching out for help and telling my story to someone sooner would have resulted in my healing beginning a lot sooner, I wouldn’t have suffered in silence for so long.  My eyes were also opened to just how many incredible, supportive, loving people I had around me when I allowed the walls to fall and the dam to break, and I am so SO grateful for each and every one of them.  I would not be able to so openly stand up and share my story today if not for them all.  I may not even have been standing here at all.  ALL my love and support right back. xoxo

And I want you to know, if you’re reading this and struggling, that it’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to ask for help if you’re ready to take that step. You are valid, you are worthy, and you’re so NOT alone in your journey. Whether you realize or not, there is a community of warriors and of survivors that will take you by the hand and support you every step along the way.  

It takes a lot, for a lot of people, to talk about what they have experienced or what they are going through, and so I just want to throw out a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has shared their story today.  I’ve seen so many brave, inspiring stories full of strength on my News Feeds…far more than I’ve ever seen – and what an incredible sight, indeed.

Your openness, willingness, and trust is helping to pave this road so that those who have come before us, those who are with us, and those who will come after us will have a much smoother journey. From someone who has only recently taken the first steps toward the sunshine, that is something so amazing.

Today is not just for today.  Let’s keep the conversations going for the next 364 days. Not all of us struggle with mental health obstacles, but we all have mental health to take care of.

All my love to all of you XOXO Never be too humble to reach out.

Fifteen

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#BellLetsTalkDay

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.  ❤

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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 !