for so long my heart has been to help end the stigma surrounding mental health. I am vocal about my own struggles because I believe talking about it not only frees me from what feels like my own personal prison, but allows others to see they’re not alone and hopefully find their own strength to come clean about theirs. but the thing about my own mental health is that I only have my own experience – everyone’s triggers are different and not every person overcomes it in the same way.
I have always wanted to have guest posts about mental health, so I took it to social media to collect stories regarding other people’s experiences. the submissions were made anonymously to make it easier for people to share their hearts. please note that those who shared have made themselves vulnerable and have donated their raw, honest stories for the sake of helping others. please respect their courage to speak out.
from a very young age I have been bullied about many different things, and throughout time I learned to ignore it. my toughest year that I struggled with suicide was my freshman year of high school. my freshman year, I was raped by one of the star athletes at my school. his girlfriend and all of her friends were the girls who had bullied me all of my life, and so this made it much worse. they blamed me and called me many things including a homewrecker. I was getting death threats, threats to not come to school, and many others. this was my lowest point in life. I got through it, but even through all fours years I was always tormented as a whore. I was even jumped at a party my those girls because I said he raped me and all they did was protect him. living in a small town, the politics were very corrupt and my story stays close to me, my family, and some friends. I still struggle daily with my past, but I can only thank my loved ones for my success. I believe the key to success in life is not hard work, motivation, or anything cliche like that. I believe success is purely born out of the support you have from others.
it all started when I was on my way to chick-fil-a and my mom told me the dean of students called her to inform her I was cutting. she asked me, told me to stop, + never talked about it again. my worst nightmare just happened. my mom knew my dark side. after a few weeks had passed, she noticed more cuts on my arm. but this time was different. when I thought I was just gonna get another talking to, she got referrals to a counselor and made me go.
I did NOT want to go. I resisted. I yelled. I cried. I dreaded having to talk to a stranger about my problems. Thinking, “wow that’s another person that’s going to judge me.” It’s now 8 years later… I am clean. I no longer cut. I ALWAYS look forward to counseling. I was introduced to healthy coping skills. my counselor has been with me for 8 years. She knows everything about me, and she is not there to judge me – but to HELP me. she was the first person I allowed into my dark place.
so after 8 years of dealing with depression and self injury, I am no longer addicted to my knife. I no longer feel like I am worthless, that I am unfixable. I am no longer a prisoner to my own thoughts.
when I had my son I struggled with really bad postpartum depression and anxiety. I was always ashamed of going to the doctor, or even admitting to myself and others how bad it really was, because that meant (in my mind) I was a horrible mother. I was resentful, mixed with emotions, and just going through the motions. I felt that I should be grateful and joyous that I had such a sweet new baby in my life, and I beat myself up over it a lot. it affected my mood, my ability to enjoy those moments, my marriage. when my son got sick, I continued to not get help, my PPD got more severe and ended up sticking around. I’ve gone through more traumatic events the past couple months than I have gone through my whole life. I’m clinically depressed, I’m in a constant battle with my anxiety, and I was clinically diagnosed with PTSD. the difference now? I reached out to my doctor. I’m open with my family and friends about it (which just takes a huge weight off my shoulders). I’m not ashamed anymore!
I felt teary-eyed reading these submissions because every situation is unique and painful, but I love that there is a constant theme of how each one found freedom in the support they received by talking about it.
and while I want to emphasize that finding a release in friends and family is good, also know that there is nothing wrong with seeing a counselor or doctor. in fact, there are times that it might be better to see one if you have access to it, simply because it is their job to hear you out and understand how to get to the bottom of the underlying issue. odds are, you’ll come to find that you were never crazy in the first place – merely human with human fears + kinks that
I have already posted the full story about my anxiety, but I found an article having mental health issues doesn’t mean you’re a bad christian yesterday on Facebook that I had to share on this post today because it is so on point for anyone who feels like they struggle with mental health despite being a christian. I know for me, I struggled for years thinking it meant I didn’t have enough faith or that I wasn’t praying enough before I realized that God would want me to get the help I need and deserve, and that He’s here with me throughout the process.
I hope y’all were able to find some hope + encouragement in these stories, because I can promise you that each of the people that shared did so with the intent of helping someone else who has a similar struggle.