It’s World Mental Health Day, and my message isn’t what I had been expecting—or at least not entirely.
Yes, I wish dearly for everyone in the world to know that their problems are valid and that they deserve help. Your problems are valid. You deserve help.
Yes, I am dedicated to helping destroy the stigma surrounding mental illness and its treatment. We are not less than. Our fight is often invisible, even when our illnesses are at their most debilitating. But we fight. We have worth. We contribute. You’re a fighter. You have worth. You do contribute.
I could pontificate on that for ages—and I was planning to.
But. But. But.
This week has been weird.
First, on Saturday, I started a GoFundMe for a wonderful, deeply deserving person that took off more than either of us imagined (and was, somehow, tweeted by Gillian Anderson today). A tiny act of kindness snowballed to have a massive positive impact on the life of a friend, and all I can feel in its wake is joyful and humble.
Then, yesterday, I posted an article on Medium detailing a negative experience I had at a previous employer, motivated in large part by some of that company’s recent decisions. Thanks to that article’s timing and message, it’s becoming the most-read thing I’ve ever written.
(And on a tinier note, my partner and I might be getting a dog very soon. YES, A DOG. YES, I WILL POST PICTURES, SO GO FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM FOR SOME PUP CONTENT.)
All those actions have had their own challenges and consequences, but they’ve all taught me the same thing: I’m more than my mental illness.
When I set up the GoFundMe, I had the emotional detachment and mental energy that my friend in need lacked.
Did I get overwhelmed and have to take a break from people by the end of the day? Yes. But I set it up, and I helped ease a friend’s burdens.
When I wrote the Medium article, my hands were shaking and my entire body grew cold; my heart raced, and my palms left smears of sweat across my laptop.
Was it easy to write, even though the words flowed freely once I started? No. But I got an important-to-me message out there, and it’s spreading.
(As for the puppy—I’m actually just incredibly excited about the puppy. There’s no deep takeaway there, other than they puppies are fantastic, we don’t deserve dogs, and once that dog is mine I will be prepared to do ANYTHING FOR HIM.)
The lesson from this week, then, is a simple one.
I can do so much in spite of my mental illness, and I am proud of what I can accomplish while the gears of anxiety and depression turn ceaselessly in my brain.
I have worth. I have impact. I’m more than my mental illness.
And so are you.
So get help if you want or need it. Reach out to me if you need information on resources.
Because the impact you have on the world? The strength you show every day in the face of your struggles? The love you give and receive, no matter how small the effort might seem?
They’re so, so much brighter than the darkness in your brain.
You deserve help. You deserve to learn how to build a life you love. And you aren’t alone in either quest.
All the love,