Disclosure: I personally believe that mental health awareness should not be restricted to one day a year. I wrote this after finding out about recent suicides on my university campus. I thought today was an appropriate day to share.
Check out my acknowledgement of my own mental health here.
I always wanted to be strong.
Imagine, 5’2″ me, the strongest woman in the world. I could build bridges, end wars, encourage world peace. I can bring diverse populations together. No more hunger; no more pain.
I can do this all because I am strong. My physical body would pave the way for the toughest journeys I would face. My fierce mentality would push me towards my goals. I would never give up.
I am strong.
But, this is all a fantasy.
When I experience my darkest episodes of depression and anxiety, I feel so weak. Like my physical body is burning away into a pile of ashes that will be blown into disappearance. Everyone will forget me. My soul feels unworthy. It feels like the runt of the litter. The worthless one.
How can someone so weak ever dream about being so strong?
And that is what mental illnesses can do to you. After hearing about a recent suicide at my university, I let out a huge sigh. Another individual, like me, suffering from a mental illness was taken way too soon.
Whenever I hear about suicides I shiver at the reality of it. That COULD have been me. I am beyond happy right now. Haven’t experienced an episode of depression or anxiety in months. But, I have been there. And for all I know, I might experience that again someday.
I am strong. Not because of my muscle mass or mental ability to retain information. I am strong because of the power I have to fight back against the darkness in my life. This is a strength that not everyone has. BUT, this is a strength that we all should be encouraging in one another.
A lot of my strength has been internally founded. I have discovered ways to overcome my episodes. Yes, I am strong. But, some of this strength was formulated through the positive energy around me.
A simple smile I received from a stranger; A “how are you text” from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while; A quick and quiet stroll in the park with a good friend.
These little events are what made me strong. On the exterior, I appear unbreakable. On the inside, my soul would weep in pain. This is a feeling I hope to never experience again, but this is a feeling I know so many individuals are familiar with.
Before you decide to bully someone (like seriously grow up if you still do this), purposely avoid eye contact with a stranger, or send any other form of negative vibes their way, please consider what these people might be going through.
Sometimes the people with the STRONGEST exteriors are in the deepest pain. Remember this.