“Please don’t be afraid to tell your story. Your voice is important and your story is unique.”
Writing about your most personal thoughts and feelings, and publishing them for the whole world to critique, can be a scary thing. Especially when you suffer from anxiety and depression yourself, or you live with an invisible chronic illness, which many refuse to believe exists.
I’ve been accused of “attention seeking” and “self pity”. I’ve been told I should be more “positive” in my posts, and I’ve been accused of “faking it”.
But the people that make negative comments like these, don’t understand why I, and many others like me, write a blog. Unless you go through these struggles daily you cannot comprehend the positive impact discovering that you are not alone in how you feel, can have on your life.
Reading someone else’s thoughts, and thinking “I could’ve written that myself” or “It’s like she’s talking about me” can make us feel less alone.
Just knowing that other people feel this way too, or feel a certain pain, or act a certain way due to illness, comforts us and can turn something which is frustrating and often scary, into a situation which is more manageable.
I don’t share my darkest thoughts or my, often depressing, reality to get sympathy. I do it to raise awareness. I do it to let other people know they are not alone. I do it to let the person who is in their darkest moment know that things will get better – they will not always be this bad.
I do it to break the stigma surrounding, not just mental illness, but all illnesses that are not truly understood. I do it to stand up for myself and a community that is often abused or downright ignored. I do it to give myself and others a voice.
You are the reason I write my blog.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about how depression makes me feel. I almost didn’t publish the post because it’s a very honest and raw piece, and I was scared of the response I would get from people who don’t understand my pain, or the reasons why I share my thoughts.
I was scared people would think I was being a drama queen and overreacting. I was scared to let the dark thoughts, which run cycles in my mind, out of their cage. I was scared to open up and admit my insecurities and failings.
But I’m so glad I did. I have received so many positive comments from what many would describe as a “depressing” post. It was also published on The Mighty, and to date it has received over 11k likes, which just goes to show how powerful a collection of thoughts and words can be. But there’s nothing special about me, you too can share your story.
I would like to say “Thank you” to everyone who comments on any of my posts. It means the world to me and it’s what gives me the strength to keep writing, even when I lose my self confidence.
Here are a few readers comments taken from this post:
“This is so spot on!!!”
“This is probably the best article about depression. It’s exactly how it feels. Unfortunately, I’m on day 2.”
“I relate to this 100%”
“It was perfectly said. Exactly what I’m going through at the moment. Hopefully it passes by quickly so I can start feeling somewhat normal again”
“I’ve never read it so spot on and well explained, like you are inside my mind.. Thank you!”
“You describe this type of depression and anxiety perfectly.”
“I’m 39 and have CPTSD which brings along depression and anxiety! Other than that! I swear you was in my head! Living my life in a parallel universe! WOW 🙌🙏💜 My heart breaks for knowing your pain! I also salute you 🙌💪🙏❤ the strength it takes to get through is nothing short of superpowers 🤩💪Your amazing!! Thank you x”
“I can relate to this…. it’s a my story as well but, do remember that you you are good enough and lovable… it’s just a irrational thoughts and not true that you are not loved and unlovable…😊❤”
“Gosh I can relate to this.”
“This is such a stripped down piece.so raw and so to the point.i could feel every word written.stay strong through it all sending you love and gratitude for such a beautiful essay.”
“Wow! What an incredible story. You’ve provided so much insight to me in regards to my son,. Even though I am very involved in his everyday, your story helped me understand him so much more. Thank you, and best of luck for a long, fulfilling life.”
“Incredible article. Thank you”
“This hit me hard. I’m glad to know I’m not alone.”
“This is so relatable!! I found myself nodding along and moved to tears as I read this. It is so difficult to be in a constant battle with yourself. I am too engrossed in my own mind, too tired to be able to explain to someone what I’m feeling or going through. Thank you for giving words to my emotions. It’s getting progressively hard to carry on…”
“Txs txs thank you so much!!!! That’s exactly how i feel right now… and i feel so alone but your words are a reminder that I’m not alone. I’m not the only one. And this too will pass…. hopefully”
“Thank you for sharing. I live the same things but can’t express it. You did express everything for me. Thank you!”
“Thank you so much… this means a lot to me”
Some of these comments are so powerful they made me cry. They are a huge reminder of why I do what I do. I feel immensely privileged to have my words reach out to so many.
Real life isn’t “perfect”.
So this leads me to answer my critics. Why do I write about the often depressing realities of living with chronic ill-health? Why don’t I paint a more positive picture of life?
I don’t know about you, but personally I’m sick of trawling through all the sterile images, and the endless pieces of advice from seemingly “perfect” people, with “perfect” lives, who are pretending to have their shit together.
This isn’t reality, and until we accept this and back away from the pretend manufactured world we all immerse ourselves in, our mental health will continue to suffer.
I am not going to apologise for being “Real”. I am not going to sugarcoat my feelings or experiences just because other people may find them hard to stomach. I believe it’s important to show the realities of life.
So, I will continue to share my imperfect flawed life. My imperfect flawed self, and my imperfect flawed thoughts.
I will continue to share my personal experiences with mental illness and chronic illness, even if sometimes the reality is tough to read.
I will continue to show it’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to be flawed, in fact it’s not just OK – it’s called being human.
I will continue to let anyone who needs it know, that just like me, you too deserve happiness. You too are worthy of love. You too are allowed to be imperfect.
You too are allowed to have days when the world is too much to bear – it doesn’t make you weak.
You too are allowed to be angry, fearful, depressed, irritable – these are valid emotions and they matter.
You too should feel like you are able to tell your story without fear of being judged or ridiculed.
I’m fast approaching the 1 year anniversary of my blog. 1 year since I took the scary first step in sharing my innermost thoughts. And it has been scary at times. A year ago I couldn’t have even contemplated the rollercoaster of a journey this step would take me on. But I’ve relished every minute. Thank you for all your support.
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