“... what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories."
Like millions of people, I was watching the Golden Globes a few weeks ago when Oprah stood up and put into words the things so many of us have been feeling. We all have a a super power and it’s our truth. I’ve sat down so many times to start speaking my truth. And then, I’m too scared to say anything.
So, here’s the deal: I suffer from mental illness. It sounds so ugly when you say that. Those two words — mental illness — sound so yucky, so dirty. But they’re just words. And saying I have mental illness is no different than saying I have diabetes or cancer.
The one thing I want to do more, than anything in this world, is to help someone else who has a mental illness ... by sharing my story. But doubt and fear creep in and I think I’m not “good enough” to help someone else or my story doesn’t matter on the larger picture. Except that’s true. The real truth is this: I not only live, but I thrive all while having a mental illness. I have a fucking good life. I have a job that I’m good at. I have an art practice that brings me peace, joy and healing. I have a wonderful family. I’m raising smart, independent and brave children. I’m rocking my world and I do that without much thought to my illness. That’s because I’ve found success in my treatment plans, success in my medications, success with coping, success in dealing with my issues .... I have figured out how to be so much more than my illness. But for some crazy ass reason, I let myself believe that because I’m not Oprah or Brené Brown — both of whom look up to and have a great deal of respect for — then speaking my truth isn’t worthwhile or helpful.
Starting today that’s over. This is the year I speak my truth. This is the year I use my voice and my talents to help advocate for those with mental illness. There are people out there that don’t have the same resources I have ... and haven’t been able to get healthy and a manage their mental illnesses. That’s beyond fucked up. Every single persons n deserves to live with dignity. No one should suffer and not get the help they need. And I have an obligation to help others who have mental illness because I have the support and tools I need to live a meaningful and healthy life. This is the year I put my voice + money into action and make a difference
Mental illness is not pretty. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. But it’s all around us. And I for one could do more to end the stigma surrounding it. This is the year.