I’m smiling in the picture above, but a smile can hide a million feelings. I hid mine behind my smile growing up. Others thought I was ok. I was laughing. I was full of life.
When someone is suffering with a form of mental health, at times, the choice they make is to fake it. I faked my feelings for so long. My friends didn’t know. My family had no clue. My teachers were unaware. I didn’t want to feel like a burden. A lot was happening in my life, and I didn’t want to take the attention from those who really needed.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about my mental health journey. Especially today, knowing it’s the start of Children’s Mental Health Week. It was my childhood when I was at my lowest, and I didn’t feel I had anyone to speak to.
I’m about to turn 26 (Valentine’s Day), and it was only last year, I opened up about my mental health struggles. It was 12 years after I experienced them, I felt ready to share them with the world.
Age is irrelevant when it comes to sharing your life experiences…
Why should turning 26 have any relevance? Why does the 12th year after my experience really matter? ANY EXPERIENCE IS A FORM OF LIGHT!
I want you to remember that a story can always be told. A story will always have relevance when the time is right. The right time is when you feel ready. The right time is when you know someone is struggling.
Speaking up about your mental health has no shame. There’s no reason why you should be scared. You’re still here. You still have a chance. You still have a chance to bring a REAL smile to someone’s face. What’s better than knowing your story has relevance? Has significance to others?
Your experience is what you make of it. I decided to open up about my mental health struggles last year, as I wanted to feel free.
Accept freedom doesn’t mean it’s all dandy from here on…
I still have bad days. There’s days where I cancel training to give myself some mental rest. I listen to my body. I listen to my mind. Self-care is so important when sharing your story.
It takes a lot. It takes a lot to have to go through the feelings again when you speak up, and yet, for some reason, I decide to do it on a regular basis.
I spoke up on LinkedIn this past week about selling your story. (If you’re on LinkedIn, connect with me here)
Sell your story to yourself and let yourself know you’re ok…
It all starts with you. Your experience is something you experience. YOUR STORY IS YOUR STORY! Sell it to yourself. Sell your experience to yourself.
We live it. We can do what we want with it. The story carries on after the experience. It’ll carry on whether we feel ok or not, so when you think about what you’ve been through next time, do something with it. Write about it. Reach out to someone and share it. Speak to yourself about it.
Whatever you do, remind yourself that your story is your story and you have the opportunity to ignite hope into someone’s life.
I struggled as a child and didn’t want to be here anymore. My life keeps changing with every experience shared. As I share every experience, I help more and more people.
If it’s a child you know struggling, remind them they’re never alone.
If it’s an adult, remind them they’re never alone.
Remind yourself, you’re never alone.
No-one is alone.