Tell Your Story, Reclaim Your Power

I’ve been deeply inspired throughout the last week as I have come across numerous stories, quotes and statements from some damn powerful women.  Stories about how they came to open up about various issues including, but not limited to, their mental health.

Included above are posts of theirs that explain parts of their journey.  That way you can hear their words as well.

Mary Lambert is a singer / songwriter that was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and lives boldly and beautifully through her music.  Nanea Hoffman is a mental health warrior and cancer (6 months clear!) survivor that pours love & positivity into anyone that’s open to it, on many different platforms. Catherine Zeta-Jones is an actress that publicly has opened up about her struggles with bipolar disorder & the pain and hospital stays that are involved with it.  One absolutely human example of how healing is not linear, is Demi Lovato.  She is currently suffering after years of sobriety and stability.  Addiction and mental illness are constant battles.  But these gals prove how battles can be won.  They are all such intelligent, beautiful souls.

There are more people now than ever that pay attention to their own mental health, and to people that they know, support and love. Celebrities, friends & family. Privately,  publicly, and/or on any platform you choose… and if you think you need help, however you decide to talk about it, just do. Ask for help.  We’re all here for you.

My whole life I have felt like an extremely empathetic person.  Even when I was too young to understand what the word meant.  And therefore it made me quite vulnerable.  I’ve always worn my heart out on my sleeve and that has opened me up to having that heart hurt & broken, time and time again.

Being honest and “coming clean” about my bipolar disorder and all of the symptoms and life changing events that come with it, makes me feel like I truly am opening myself up to people. For years, no one knew about my bipolar disorder or anxiety issues, or OCD tendencies, as I was ashamed and thought people would think I was “crazy”.  So I tried my best to keep it a secret.  Then when I had finally had it with those years, I let at least my loved ones know what was going on in my head.  Well… the textbook definition anyway.  Then once we moved into this massive age of social media, I always, always felt like I was having to hiding something because I wasn’t being completely honest with anyone.  Myself included.  I needed to get real.

Unfortunately, although many new doors open for you once you become upfront and transparent about your mental health, there aren’t always the most understanding, educated, or loving people behind them.  And I won’t lie…people will judge you, misunderstand you and even belittle you because of your mental illness.  That’s all that they may even know or try to learn about you because they refuse to look past your state of mental health.  They make assumptions.  They don’t give themselves the chance to learn about the amazing heart that is on your sleeve.  Or to learn about all of the times that you would’ve used that heart to help them understand more earnestly, help them be more educated on mental health, and help them to love wholeheartedly, despite of anything related to mental illness.

As a broad mental health community, I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say that no one  wants to be pigeon-holed or defined by our mental illness.  So we have to be even stronger than someone who is not struggling.  Strong enough to fight off the stigma, belittling and judgement that we receive on the daily.  So, as we open up and we share our stories, we do become stronger, braver, and more willing to fight.  We do it together. As a community, as a tribe!  This new, loving support bubble that I have has made my confidence in myself, and my story, soar.  There’s always room in my bubble or get yourself out there with your story and your tribe will find you!

The positivity that comes with sharing about our lives in general, including our mental health, definitely outweighs the negativity that can come with someone’s else’s actions or opinions. I hope that someone reading this feels motivated to join in and spread the hell out of their honesty and positivity! Can you imagine if we all felt it & did it?

I have recently reclaimed my power! Shamefully, not that long ago, I hadn’t been able to remember the last time that I felt like I deserved my own power. BUT this was also my year of massive clarity and change! I feel like all of my positive changes have helped me not only reclaim my power, but also reclaim my life…

I cut out all toxic people and places in my life, and try daily, with my whole soul, to honour the loves in my life that are true and love me back for who I am.

Part of how I’ve been able to make positive changes in my life is transparency.  I’m pretty honest, matter of fact, (and definitely) giving and loving.  I have always had these traits, but now, I can finally add strong to the list! And I have learned that the only people deserving of these things that make me, me, are the people that treat me properly.  By properly, I mean with respect, dignity and love.

Opening up about my mental health on social media was a scary, long decision making process.  I thought that I would then feel exposed, accountable and too vulnerable.  Then came the afterthought, ‘Accountable to who? Accountable for what?’ So that made my decision for me.  I would finally open up; admit, embrace, whatever definition we want to use; to everyone.  Everyone! Family, friends, social media, people that I like, people that I don’t like…. It was all or nothing y’all!

I have never had anything in my InstaGram (the only social media app that I use) biography section.  My reason for this was I always thought it to be strange to have a private account, yet a detailed description about you and your whole life in your bio.  Defeats the purpose of privacy doesn’t it? And my account was private, so no bio for me!  Years later, as I started posting a lot more and stopped being bothered about how much I posted, I decided to fill in my bio.  It now says Mental Health Advocate.  Because that’s what I feel like I am.  It is only 3 words, but is a great description.  It applies to all of the important people and things going on in life.  But they’re still words that don’t have to define you, it means you love to help, you care, and have a ton of experience with mental health.

After I started receiving such great, positive feedback about my IG page, and really started to become part of a community online, my strength continued to grow and I was able to look inward and see if there was another kind of outlet for my productive habits and hobbies.  I started writing again and decided to start a personal blog about mental health positivity.  The number of ways that this blog has benefited my life seem almost endless at the moment!  The writing alone is very cathartic for me and takes me to a place of peace.  I am content and in control of what I am writing, what it is putting out there and how it makes me feel.

Doing this process (purging of the mouth!) on a platform such as a blog is also an excellent way to open up your heart for your new tribe and community members to enter.

This is one of the best parts of my new journey through positivity.

The understanding.

The heart.

The people.

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Thank you for posts and images:

BP for Bipolar Magazine

Nanea Hoffman (Sweatpants and Coffee)

Mary Lambert

Demi Lovato

Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

 

 

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