Why Put My Life Out There for the World to See?
My childhood was plagued with physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse. The traumas I’ve endured led to a lifetime of scars and a lifelong battle with depression, anxiety disorder and ptsd. For years, I’ve struggled with mental illness, carrying with me the chains of dysfunction from my childhood. I carried the awful stigma with me, minimizing its severity behind fake, encouraging smiles. I feared people learning how bad it truly was and judging me. I did not want others to see me as damaged or broken, though that is how I felt inside. I did not want to be pitied.
When my world recently shattered beneath me yet again, I was ready to give up. Suicide dangled in the corners of my mind as an escape from my demons. Tearfully, I began writing my goodbyes. My body convulsed as I sobbed, knowing I could not live another day in this torment. As I finished writing and turned to leave my letter on my desk, a small pink pig my son had won me years ago at the county fair caught my eye. A voice inside me screamed to STOP! My children needed me! I could not break their hearts. That voice continued on, urging me to hold on, to fight, to not give up. It urged me to do whatever it took to hold on for one more minute, one more hour, one more day.
After suffering in silence for years, I had finally found my voice. I picked my laptop back up and I began to write. Fervently, I shared all I had been through and the struggles I still faced. As my words flowed, I began to see the overwhelming strength it took to survive it all. I began to see, too, the dysfunctional patterns I had carried through life. My inner voice eagerly continued on, encouraging me to put it all down and see it all for what it was. Only by facing it all could I begin to heal and to change.
When I shared what I had written with a close friend, he was visibly moved. He truly had no idea about the depths of my depression. It was then that I knew I needed to put it all out there. If sharing my story could help even one person see depression for what it was or reassure one person that they were not alone and help them find their voice, it would be worth it. If sharing my trauma and scars starts even one conversation and helps break the stigma attached to mental illness, it would be worth it.
In perhaps the scariest and bravest moment of my life, I compiled all I had written into a book and put it out there for others to read. However, I was not done yet. I have awakened my inner voice and it has been relentless in its encouragement to keep writing, work through everything and heal. What started as a private effort to survive has spiraled into a very real NEED to ignore the stigma, talk about my battles with mental illness and my struggles to heal.
Republished on YouShare on 8/8/16.
Republished on Bipolar Life on 9/13/16.
This blog also inspired a longer, more detailed original piece found exclusively on:
Everyday Health: Voices of Experience on 8/22/16.