It is the end of the year and like many others, I have decided to reflect on my last year. A lot of this year was spent working on Seeing Through The Label which involves getting my story out there. I have been reflecting on my “why”. I wanted to know more about what motivates me to channel so much of my time and energy into having people hear my life story.
At first, I thought about the reasons that had more of a negative connation because my illness is usually centred on fear and self-doubt. I was worried that I was doing this completely selfishly and wanted to find some kind of fame by telling people all about me. I was worried that I was using my illness and recovery to pat myself on the back and have people pay attention to me. Then I thought about something I’ve talked about in the past which is that it is okay to be selfish. It is okay that I gain something by sharing my story. I am able to have that outlet. I am able to connect with others to help remind myself that I am not as weird and messed up as I think I am.
I also like the fact that I can connect with others by sharing my story because I see the impact it has on their lives as well. I want to help others with those feelings of isolation that I have experienced myself. I think back to when I first started to experience odd thoughts. I did not want to share these thoughts because I thought that I was the only one. I did not want to seek help because I was so afraid that I was the only one who could possibly think that way.
Stigma is something that we still talk about as well. I share my story to try to outweigh some of the negative stereotypes. When all we hear about mental illness are the frontline news stories condemning people with mental illness, we as a society fear them. Statistics are great, but people resonate with real life stories. Some people need to see that the illness is only one part of a person. That is why it is important for people to talk about their lives and how they manage their illness. It makes it more normalized, and people see those frontline stories as what they are; anomalies to the norm.
Upon reflecting on my “why,” I have regained some of my drive to keep pushing forward which I had recently lost. New Years should not just be about wanting to lose weight or quit smoking. Take a moment to reflect on your passion and what makes you want to keep pushing forward.