In the beginning, there is silence. There is fear of the unknown, the long dark road ahead of us. Anxiety over how to quell symptoms in order to return to the way life was before mental illness hit. When we woke each morning with blessed anticipation for the new day we had been given. When the joyful tickle of laughter could be felt deep within us.
It’s all still there, but buried deep within our soul that has been crushed by a mental illness diagnosis.
We’ll get back there. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew the path to healing and we can learn from his words of wisdom.
In time, through grueling, emotionally draining appointments with doctors and therapists, the “Let’s give this a shot,” approach to weeding out what works and what doesn’t in regard to medications and the effort to balance out the out-of-synch chemicals in the brain, and the awkward interactions with friends and family members who can’t begin to understand how we’re feeling. Even though they desperately want to.
One day at a time we begin clawing our way out of the gaping hole we’d been living in. One day, we see a sliver of hope in a new medication we’re trying or a different form of therapy that is working. We feel a twinge of our old self emerging from the cocoon we had wrapped around ourselves to try to hide and suffer in silence. Slowly but with persistence we are finding our recovery path.
We realize in that moment we’re ready to stop the silence because our lives matter. Talking about mental illness matters.
The more we remain silent about mental illness and our own personal struggles with the diseases of the mind, the more the monster that is stigma grows. Not until we learn to embrace our conditions, reach out for help when we’re sprawled out on the floor during our lowest moments of emotional pain and trust that each time we talk about our journey to recovery, will we chip away at the stigma surrounding mental illness.
When we come together as a community, we take a sledgehammer to stigma. It doesn’t stand a chance.
Join us in following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sage advice. Help us end the silence surrounding mental illness by auditioning for the debut performance of This Is My Brave in Washington, DC.
We want to showcase your Brave for others to find hope in your story.
Reserve your audition slot today by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and see our website for more info (www.thisismybrave.org/auditions).
Jenn & Anne Marie