Since I began working with Sarah on Stigma Fighters Teen and tried reaching out to people about sharing their story, I have seen that a lot of people are scared to open up.
That’s a problem.
Not because it hinders us or anything we do. But because the stigma surrounding mental illness has created this fear of opening up and getting help. This is the exact same stigma we are trying to fight by sharing our stories and personal experiences so the world can see how normal we are.
In November I wrote a post on my personal blog called Imagine. And the purpose of this piece was to show how common mental illnesses are. That people all around you suffer, and many are too scared to speak up. I wrote it to show that mental illness can affect anyone of any age, of any gender, of any walk of life. There is no one set form of person who has mental illness, and the forms of mental illness are wide spread.
“Imagine a world where everyone had a mental illness. But is it that hard to imagine it?”
Truly think about that for a moment.
Society has created this stigma, because that is honestly the best word for it, that surrounds and engulfs people with mental illnesses. It’s like a heavy smoke that is choking us out and taking our voice.
But the feeling that I got from breaking free of that smoke, from finding my voice, was like I was a whole new person. When I found my voice, I realized how wonderful it felt to have one. Whether that voice is screaming for change through a computer screen or standing in front of one person saying it has to stop. It’s a voice. It’s important. It matters. And it deserves to be heard.
Because the only way there will ever be change is if we stand together and show that there needs to be. A few voices screaming for change will never be as powerful as a million voices whispering it.
Sharing my story set me free. It gave me a voice. And for once in my life I felt I was in control. What will your voice say?