Let's Be Real
Alright I’m going to do this. I’m going to tell them. I wiped my sweaty hands across my dark purple skirt and kept my eyes trained on the wooden floor as I tried to listen to the girl across from me tell the group why she joined this ministry. I had just joined Women’s Ministry, a group dedicated to serving the women on our university campus, and we were on our annual retreat to kick off the year. To get to know each other, the head of the group asked us to share what brought us to this ministry. Phrases like “authentic femininity” and “real beauty” were thrown around the room as each girl shared why they felt called to serve the women of our university campus. As they told their stories, I felt heat rise to my face. All of the women seemed to have such nice stories. Some of them shared about their struggles briefly but had tied their story off with a sweet little bow, telling how they had overcome their main struggle and were ready to help the women of campus. None of their testimonies seemed as dark as the one I was about to share. All of them seemed so holy. So healed. And there I was. Broken. Lost. Confused. The girl next to me finished speaking, and I knew the spotlight was on me. I took a long deep breath. And I told them.
I told them how I struggle with severe anxiety and depression. How just three months ago, I had almost attempted suicide. How I was in therapy and on medication. How I was still broken. How I was still not sure if I could serve on this ministry.
After I finished, some girls walked up to me and thanked me for my vulnerability and bravery.
What? Bravery? All I did was share about how I’m a broken, how I’m a mess, and how I don’t even know if I’ll be a good fit for this ministry.
But I’ve realized that it’s difficult for most people to share about their struggles. Especially struggles surrounding mental health. And I’ve had several people ask me how I’m so comfortable doing so. The answer is simple: it comes very easily to me. Although sometimes it is excruciating and painful, I’ve never been one to shy away from sharing about my darkest times when prompted. I never realized before, but I believe I’ve been given this gift of vulnerability so that I can share my experience with others, hopefully making them feel less alone. There was a time I was so hopeless and alone that I thought suicide was my only option. But here I am today: living, breathing, thriving. I want to be an example of hope. An example of someone who has been at the very edge but has somehow survived. It is possible. I’m sure from the outside I don’t look like someone who struggles with a severe mental illness due to the stereotypes and misconceptions ingrained in our society. And I could sustain that façade. I could continue to post edited Instagram pictures and share the highlight reel of my life. But I don’t want to. I want to be real. I want to be authentic. I want to be vulnerable.
That’s one of the biggest reasons I started a website. I wanted a place where I could share about my life, especially about my struggle with mental illness. I wanted a place to talk about the things I’m passionate about, the things I love, ways to thrive in your life, and ways to just make it through the day.
And I want anyone struggling to know that they can make it. They should make it. And it is worth it to make it.
All my love,