In the beginning, there is silence. There is fear of the unknown, the long dark road ahead of us. It’s hard because we’re not sure we’ll get our life back. We forget what it’s like to wake up without anxiety creeping through our bones. The memories of what true joy and laughter felt like have faded into almost nothing.
Our soul has been crushed by a mental illness diagnosis. But we can rise again.
Author Brene Brown writes in her book Daring Greatly about the path to healing:
“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
We endure grueling, emotionally draining appointments with doctors and therapists. We cry. We talk it out. We do the work. Meds work or don’t work. We keep trying. Interactions with friends and family members are awkward and sometimes forced. They can’t begin to understand how we’re feeling. Even though they desperately want to understand.
Life with mental illness feels impossible.
But then one day we begin clawing our way out of the gaping hole we’ve been living in. One day, a sliver of hope unfolds as we sense a new medication or form of therapy working, dissolving the dense fog in our brain. 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. We begin to find our recovery path with cautious persistence.
We realize in these moments 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. We must 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 we will we chip away at the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Because when we come together as a community, we take a sledgehammer to stigma. It doesn’t stand a chance.
Join us in following Dr. Brown’s sage advice. Help us end the silence surrounding mental illness by auditioning for one of our all-new This Is My Brave productions in Boston, Iowa City or Washington, DC.
We want to showcase your Brave for others to find hope in your story. Auditions begin next month.
Stay tuned as details on how to reserve your audition day and time slot will be announced this week on our blog and social media channels. Please see this page for more info on what we're looking for: www.thisismybrave.org/auditions.