Mental illness has become a buzzword lately.
It seems like there’s some sort of badge of honor you receive when you talk about your anxiety, your depression… you name it on social media, and I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. I think this movement or whatever you want to call it of being real and open on social platforms is just what we need. For so long, mental illness has been misrepresented. It’s misunderstood and therefore, it has developed a stigma around it along with falsehoods and myths. Myths surrounding mental illness make something like depression or anxiety seem so foreign and so taboo that struggling with these as a “functioning” human or “successful” human couldn’t be possible, or at least, shouldn’t be talked about. It’s seen as a weakness, a hindrance and something most people don’t understand.
But, mental illness is not a weakness and it is not anyone’s fault.
I have dealt with depression and anxiety from a young age. It’s something I didn’t actually have a name for until recent years because I just always thought I was the angsty kid, or different and handled my emotions and life experiences unlike other kids and people around me. Now that I’m an adult and I’ve gone to therapy, I’ve worked through some of my past life and my symptoms and I now know what to call it, but it’s taken me years of inner struggle and loneliness to actually understand what it is. Now, I’m not saying that I know everything about mental illness, I am not a medical professional and every experience is different, but because my depression and anxiety have crept into my life as a business owner, I have some things that I want to share with you.
I know how hard it can be to feel confident, to feel good and to feel hopeful, so I don’t have much to say in this blog post except for these three truths that I want to share with you:
1. If you’re struggling with mental illness, you are not alone.
Approximately 1 in 5 adults experience some form of mental illness…and that’s only the ones willing to talk about it!
2. Talking about it helps.
When your thoughts are out of control, overwhelming or negative, allow yourself to hear it or see it. I don’t care if you share with yourself in your journal, to your best friend, your mom, whoever…This forces you to pull that thought down to eye level and handle it at face value. Sometimes it can seem much more intense when it’s in your head floating around that when you actually go to speak it or write it down, you’re able to breathe through it and work through it. Vulnerability isn’t weakness.
3. You can still be successful.
Yes, in spite of, or in addition to your depression or whatever mental illness you’re struggling with, you can still run a successful business, be a spouse, a mom, a friend…don’t let it stop you.
For most of my life, I’ve felt ashamed of my story and my battle with depression and anxiety. Don’t do this – don’t let it stop you from living and bringing your beautiful and broken story to the world. Find a support group and/or a therapist to talk to, I’m so glad I did. I wouldn’t be able to address my triggers, my defenses, thoughts, and battles in the way I do now. This helps me fight and push through days where I don’t feel like getting out of bed, or the anxiety takes over my body.
You are capable of success and being a leader despite your mental illness, you are strong and have so much to contribute to your relationships, your experiences, LIFE.
If you are in crisis and need help immediately, please call the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine: 1-800-273-TALK or text “Talk” to 741741.