Bell Let’s Talk Day is one week from today, Wednesday January 31st. Last Bell Let’s Talk Day was a turning point for me, it was the first time I talked publicly about my mental illness. I had been dealing with depression for a while before Bell Let’s Talk Day, but only my family and close friends knew about it and truthfully, I hadn’t totally accepted it myself. I was still facing a lot of self-stigma. I didn’t think I was “sick enough” to talk to others about it because I thought they would think I was overreacting or “faking it”. This makes me realize how naïve I was to mental illness. This year I have educated myself surrounding mental health and advocacy, and so much good has come from it! Notably, I gained personal awareness, I had many interesting conversations with some incredible people, and of course launching Mind at Ease.
Speaking publically about mental illness, especially your own, can be hard! It is extremely vulnerable, confusing, and delicate. I was not planning on sharing my personal story on Bell Let’s Talk Day last year, but I read countless encouraging stories and support for those struggling that I went on a whim and shared on Facebook and Instagram. I remember being so worried about what people were going to think, but I kept reminding myself of the reasons I shared.
I shared to end the silence.
I shared for those who couldn’t.
I shared for all my friends and family suffering from mental illness.
I shared to raise money for mental health research, training, and programs.
I shared to prove to myself that I could.
I shared for me.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that initial post affected me much more than I thought it would. By putting my illness out there for everybody to see, it became real. I could no longer hide from it or pretend that it wasn’t there. I needed to face it head on. It helped me accept my depression and once I did, I truly started recovering.
Without Bell Let’s Talk Day, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to accept my illness and jump into recovery. I don’t know if I ever would have shared my story, or if Mind at Ease would have even started. I know that this past year for me would have looked a lot different if I had not shared last year. For these reasons, I am so grateful that Bell Let’s Talk Day provided a platform for me.
If you are thinking about sharing your story, I would highly recommend it! The countless words of encouragement I received, all the people who reached out to me and told me their story, and all the positivity that has come along with it reminds me that we need to talk. We need to break the silence! This year has been life changing for me, I have had some high highs, and some very low lows, but I would not have changed a single moment of it. It has made me who I am today, and I am so proud of myself for putting myself out there and reaching far beyond my comfort zone.
I would love to hear your story! Email me if you’d like to share <3
Don’t forget to breathe.
Everyone has a story to share
Read here about others' journeys with mental health and illness and advice they have for those suffering, in recovery, or supporting someone with a similar story.