Never in a million years did I ever think I'd share my mental health issues in public. When I became a television reporter, my parents always warned me to keep my mental illness a secret. They feared I'd be treated differently, or fired. They had good reason to worry. People hear mental illness and they think you're a walking time bomb, or worse people fear you are dangerous. I started blogging and vlogging (I share my mental health journey on my YouTube channel) last year. It was scary at first, then it was liberating. I found so much freedom sharing the highs and lows of living with severe depression. I also found comfort in the stories of others. My social media reach is small, but I've had the most amazing connections with people also living with mental illnesses. I know hope to become a mental health advocate and help others tell their stories as well.
On this week's #MentalHealthMonday, I'd like to honor the advocates that have motivated me to keep telling my story.
Demi Lovato : ROCK STAR, ADVOCATE
My first memory of Demi Lovato is when she was thrust into the headlines for some very bad behavior on the Jonas Brother tour back in 2010. I remember reading tabloid magazines about her downward spiral. At the time I thought she was another Disney kid gone bad. What I didn't know was at the time Lovato was struggling with drug addiction, self harm, an eating disorder, and mental illness. She eventually left the Jonas Brothers tour and checked into rehab. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood energy, and activity. Click here for more details on the disorder from the NIMH .
Since rehab Demi has been sober, healthy, and a strong advocate for mental health. She has spoke in front of Congress, and held public speeches about mental health. Seeing a beautiful, successful star like Demi bravely share her story is so incredibly encouraging. It shows me that I CAN LIVE WITH MY DEPRESSION and IT DOES NOT DEFINE ME. Demi has gone on to be in healthy romantic relationships, lead a successful music career, juggle a stressful job all while having Bipolar Disorder. She also shows just how important is to get ask for help. Some people are afraid to go to a therapist or take medication for their disorders. There is so much shame associated with it. But, advocates like Demi prove getting help allows us to live our best lives in spite of our mental health conditions. Her story makes me feel like I can conquer my dreams as well. Demi works with a non-profit called Be Vocal that encourages people to share their mental health victories, and helps them get help.
I also love how Demi has shares her triumph and pains in her music. One of my favorite songs from her is called ' My Old Ways' When I hear it I think of all the old ways I used to deal with my depression; isolation, fear, self harm, and shame.
I also LOVE her song Skyscraper.
Non-Profit: THIS IS MY BRAVE
A friend introduced me to a 'This is My Brave' last year. I was just coming out of a dark depression and I felt like no one understand me. She told me about an organization that helps people with mental illness share their stories. The way they help people tell their stories is incredible. 'This is My Brave' travels the country and host live shows were people can share their mental health journeys through song, spoken word, and poetry. People share their stories on a stage inspiring others that they can live with mental illness.
Listen to Co-Founder and Executive Director Jennifer Marshall talk about how the power of storytelling is saving lives.
Reading the stories of people living with their mental illness gives me hope that I can do the same. If you feel alone, or uncertain about how you can endure the hardships of a mental illness I encourage you to read the stories on 'This is My Brave'.
If you are interested in sharing your story on the Good Girl Chronicles blog email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Sharing your story can set you free!