Twitter is all a buzz with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. I didn’t know why it was spreading like wildfire, but with just a few clicks, I read that Bell Let’s Talk is a charity that aids those who suffer from mental illness.
In my short time in this world, I have come across many people that have suffered from mental illness. Some have come back from it, others have not. I suffered from it when I was much younger, but as I am writing this now, I can say I’ve overcome it. However, I will admit that every so often, those negative thoughts come back. I am very lucky that I have such amazing people in my life that help battles those thoughts and the best thing is, they don’t even realize how they have helped me.
Mental illness can come in many forms: panic attacks, depression, self-deprecation, self-harm, suicidal thoughts etc… If you suffer from any of these, don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed. There are so many people who can and who want to help you. Family, friends, people who want to see you beat these illnesses, and sometimes complete strangers will offer a helping hand. But you have to make that first step yourself. It is a scary step, but the journey you begin with that move forward will lead you to such a healthy and positive destination. Your mental health is precious.
I was in college (many years ago), and someone very important to me left my life. It sounds simple now. It sounds like a situation that the person I’ve become can bounce back from like it was nothing. But I was much younger, much less experienced in life, and I was in a lot of mental trouble. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t eat, sleep, my grades were slipping and I couldn’t help but cry myself to sleep every day. I remember lying on my floor, looking up at the ceiling asking for help, and felt my heart break when no one came. I blamed myself for not being anything worth saving.
All I could do was hug myself and continue to cry asking why I wasn’t good enough, and I began to criticize everything about myself. I told myself it was because I was ugly and not smart. I looked in a mirror and hated what I saw. I remember he gave me a list of flaws that “I needed to work on”. And that list was ingrained in my mind. I believed that those “flaws” were true and I believed that I had to change these things about myself in order to find happiness. Curious to know what was on that list?
*Change your sense of humor
*If you ever believe you did enough, you didn’t
*Talk about something else other than what you did in your day, and I don’t care about the traffic. Who cares?
*Dress better. (I usually just wore a t-shirt and jeans)
And the list went on for a few more points in the ultimate form of character assassination. The worst part of it was I didn’t tell anyone about it. I kept it to myself, so that list, my self doubt and my downward spiral were all I thought about those days. I didn’t have any other outlets. I couldn’t even play video games, and you all know how much I love video games. I was scared about what I was going to do, so I called a couple of friends when I was on campus one day. My religious friend prayed for me, hugged me, told me I was beautiful and said I was precious. She stayed with me until she had to go to class.
I still felt uneasy, so I text my friend Lucy and she invited me up to the library to talk to another friend. I skipped class (I am not promoting ditching class, btw) and I made my way to the library. My friend introduced me to a colleague, and that complete stranger talked me through my feelings, connected with me, told me what I was experiencing will pass and that I possessed the strength to get through it even though I didn’t believe it myself. I can say with confidence that they saved my life that day.
It isn’t easy explaining to someone why you feel how you feel. The first thoughts are always negative and shameful. It is embarrassing to pour your heart out to someone while simultaneously judging yourself. Don’t do that. You feel a certain way, so accept it. Embrace it, conquer it. It is only then that you can begin journey to recovery. Do not be ashamed for your feelings because believe it or not, thousands of others feel that way too. You are not alone even though you feel that you are. Do not fear picking up a phone and calling someone even if that person is not a specialist. The fact that you gathered enough courage to reach out to someone is such a huge step. Be proud that you made that step.
We are now in an age where communicating with people has become so easy. With a touch of a button, you can call or message someone in a different country. You can even tweet to your favorite celebrities (I’m totally guilty of that). The world is at your fingertips. Be strong and know that there are so many that care about you. Don’t be afraid.
Accept your feelings
Communicate with those that can help you
Build upon a happy foundation
Recover your happiness
Look back and wonder how is it that I became that way?
Look forward and help someone else.
You can do it.