Surprise! You’re not alone
I’ve mentioned in previous posts how many lessons I am learning on my journey of rediscovery and in my attempt to accept anxiety and depression as an extension of myself. My most recent lesson is the discovery that I am not alone. Recently I started opening up to more people(very selectively I might add) about the challenges I have faced, challenges I am still facing and I was surprised by how that has encouraged those people to in turn reach out to me and share their struggles with mental health. I have opened up A box filled with surprises. So many times I have felt alone in this battle. Afraid to share my story, fearful of being vulnerable and petrified of the judgement. We live in such a judgemental society where so many people now portray their lives as being picture perfect via social media platforms hiding their true life stories because once you open up, you open up Pandora’s box.
Living in a small geographical area where everyone’s business is the world’s and opinions on how to parent your children, how to live your life comes so freely is a difficult reality to live with, but with that being said there’s no life living in fear. And that’s is exactly why I decided to tell my story. My life isn’t picture perfect and I most certainly do not portray it to be. I face my own challenges and in order to live the life I want to live I challenged myself to open up and tell my story regardless of the unwarranted and unwanted opinions and judgements. I will not conform to a society portraying a false sense or reality based on social media because The universe doesn’t play by my rules, but I do and my voice will not be silenced by fear of persecution. Having found the courage to start speaking up about my personal mental health battles, I now find myself in a position where others feel comfortable enough to share their stories with me. It is comforting to know that I am not alone, but also so rewarding and humbling that I am able to listen to the stories of others and that they trust that I will not judge. I find this so encouraging that I want to share my story even more now, but with hope that others will start sharing their stories without fear too. It’s time to break the mould, time to stop living in fear of judgement by others because as the saying goes those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter!
Anxiety and depression has given me an advantage and that is knowledge about mental health based on my personal experiences and the ability to view life through very different lenses. I now view the quiet mum sitting by herself playing with her phone as someone who might just suffer from anxiety instead of thinking she’s being deliberately anti-social, the mum running around after her kids screaming and bickering might just need an encouraging smile of acknowledgement that as a fellow mum you understand what she’s going through instead of the eye roll. The mum on the school run who looks like she’s ready to hit a runway at fashion week could be hiding her insecurities under her makeup and what she needs could just be a genuine compliment or even just a nod of encouragement. The point I am trying to make is that we do not know what others are going through daily and therefore we shouldn’t be so eager to place judgement or give our opinions. Sometimes we all just need a smile, a nod or even someone who would listen without preconceived notions and opinions. Someone who will truly listen. We have all been guilty of this, but I am grateful for my journey because I now live my life so differently and in spite of having some good and bad days I am now a better version of myself. I am by no means perfect and I do not strive for perfection, but I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. Today in the knowledge that I am not alone in this battle I once again realise how pivotal it is that as women and as human beings we should support, embrace and uplift each other regardless of our differences. Let’s share our stories without fear, our battles my take on different personas but in the end we are not alone. Somewhere out there someone is suffering just like you so let’s build on bringing awareness to mental health related conditions by sharing our stories.