I want to post a follow up blog to explain more of why I posted my last blog post "the day i said YES to myself." First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming feedback I've received from it. Over 1,000 people have read and shared this blog post and it means the world to me. The messages have flooded in from people of all ages explaining they too had been feeling like giving up and also explained that it was so nice to be able to open up to someone about it and have someone to talk about it with. I am so thankful this blog has given others a chance to feel comfortable sharing their own stories.
Next, I want to explain why I decided to post about it. And by "it" I mean suicide. Yes, suicide. With each truth that I tell, there are always people that don't want to hear it or don't want to understand it. It may even scare people to talk about it. Some may think it's stupid to be open, she's sharing too much. Some may think, she's just talking about it because she wanted attention, and some just flat out can't even imagine sharing something that is so deep within our minds. This is the reason why I gave a piece of myself to the world on Wednesday night.
You may know I am a motivational speaker. For 7 years, I have dedicated my life to speaking and singing at schools and mental health conferences about bullying, mental health, and suicide prevention. It has been a topic I have been passionate about for many years and strive to speak out about it and educate people about it. My mom has also dedicated her life to this topic and has been a mental health professional for over 14 years. She is the most knowledgeable person on this topic I have ever met. I grew up having a different understanding of mental health and have been around some of the most intelligent people in this industry since I was 7. So believe me when I say what I'm about to say next.
We as people believe we need to hide our mental health. We need to keep it a secret, slide it under the rug. We believe that if we are depressed, anxious, or low that we are crazy and we must not open up about how we feel in fear that others will think we are weird or can't handle normal, daily routines. Let me give this to you straight. Just because you went through a low, just because you were depressed or felt like not being here on this earth does not automatically mean you are not capable of being a normal human being and doing normal day to day things. Being depressed, anxious or feeling low, does not make you crazy, weird or incapable of doing anything. Because if you'd like to know the real truth, over half the worlds population has been there at least once in their lifetime.
Did you know that over 350 million adults have depression sometime in their lifetime? Did you know 2/3 of children have mental health challenges? Can we just stop and think about that for a moment? If more than half the world is going through this, why are we not talking about it? Why do we awkwardly coward at the fact of asking our friend if they are ok? Why do we judge people and be cruel to people thinking they're crazy or not capable of doing something if they are in a low time in their lives?
Depression is something I have struggled with since 7th grade. And like most people I get through it, I pick myself up again and each time I become even stronger then the last. Some days are better than others. I know this because I've been through it several times. I know each time I feel low, I will pick myself up again and do it over and over again. We all may need reassurance from a friend or a family member that we are strong enough to handle this. That we can make it through. Sometimes we need to fall to our knees in prayer and cry out to God. And other days we find the strength in ourselves to run through the fire full force and push through it. Mental health challenges do not make us weak. They do not make us less capable. They do not make us less worthy. They do not make us crazy. They do not make us weird. They make us HUMAN BEINGS.
To the people out there that didn't understand why I opened up about my story, this is for you. I shared my story not to receive attention or praise, or even to hear opinions on it. I shared a piece of my journey to raise awareness for suicide prevention; something I've been dealing with and speaking about for 7 years. I shared my story because I got through something extremely difficult and I know others can find the strength to do so as well. Most importantly, I shared my story to inspire others out there, to speak up about it, hoping one day we can all be courageous enough to share our own stories to help others; even our deepest ones. To share our truths; even the ugliest ones. I shared my story to help others out there feel like they are not alone and to let others know, we are all in this together and we should be there for each other.
To the people that have reached out and to the ones that haven't; talk about it. Open up and express your truth. You have so many people ready to listen to you, and others hoping to learn from you. You are not alone on this so called "journey of life". The beauty of sharing your story, is that today can be a new beginning and you can become the person you never thought you could be.