I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would have the courage to share my story with so many people. But, being able to use my story to help empower and encourage others to take action and tell their own mental health stories is an unparalleled opportunity.
As you all know, mental health is still an unknown concept for many people, and those who struggle are often misunderstood. I’m excited to work with all of you to build the momentum we need to spread awareness and understanding as far and wide as possible.
Growing up, it was hard for me to understand my feelings. They came in torrents, nasty thoughts and impulses. Though they initially seemed like “ordinary” childhood responses to growing up, they steadily became all-consuming. I found myself in a standoff with my own urges, emotions and thoughts that I have
difficulty understanding to this day. You can imagine how helpless and confused I felt as an adolescent.
I was never one for the obvious or the crystal clear. I preferred to hide, tarry, and fake it ‘til I made it. So I masked, and I coped, and I self-medicated. I bottled up my emotions and was bound to come undone. Eventually, I compounded and exacerbated my ADHD and depression to unmanageable levels.
Soon after, I hit bottom.
Having lost my will to live was something that I attribute to my lack of education on what I was feeling, on what was happening to me. I had tools, support and professional help that many don’t get and yet I felt alone, like I couldn’t be helped.
I felt like the world was better off without me. It is a feeling that is engraved in my memory.
Today, instead of weighing me down, that feeling drives me. Like many twists and turns in life, I view it as a reminder that life is a challenge. The unpleasant times, illnesses and shortcomings can be important journeys. The predispositions, diagnoses and handicaps are obstacles that make the journey interesting and
enhance our understanding of who we are and what we’re capable of.
Needless to say, my path to recovery was dark and riddled with obstacles, but I made it through. Through my story, I seek to persuade others that no matter where their journey takes them, no matter how many obstacles lie in their path, there is light and hope ahead.
We are not alone on our journey.
I always felt misunderstood and confused, believing that not a soul on earth could understand how or why I felt the way that I did. But when we share our stories we develop more empathy for each other. We expand understanding. We help each other along the way. By telling my story, I hope you will feel empowered to share yours, and together we can make a difference.
That’s what drives me to share, to be at one with all of my listeners and become a part of the powerful voice that is the Active Minds Speakers Bureau .
Thank you all for the warm welcome and let the journey begin.