Today is World Mental Health Day.
Today, like every other day, I am wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter. I am me.
Today, like most other days, I will look at my children and think how differently it could have gone if I didn’t have strong hearts around me, supporting me.
Tonight, like every other night, I’ll open the bottle full of tiny pills that are keeping me alive; and just for a moment, that tiny voice will whisper – “But you’re fine now. You don’t need them anymore. Everything is okay. You’re okay without them.”
I’ll push the thought aside, take my medicine and climb into bed.
It’s not wine. It’s not coffee. It’s not quite as easy to talk about; certainly not as easy to casually laugh about.
It’s much more common to crack a joke about needing my glass of wine than needing my medication, because somehow, with all the “openness” and “tolerance” of our modern world, mental health remains an almost taboo topic.
Somehow, a broken mind is still viewed differently than a broken bone, and its still more acceptable to share that you had a surgery than that you take a pill to keep your brain from self-destructing.
I share much of the joy in my life, and I always will, because I believe with all my heart that there is good, there is love, and there IS joy to be found in every day.
But if you’re reading this and you feel alone in your struggle, know that you are not. Know that it is NEVER weak to ask for help, to call your doctor, to tell your spouse or friend: “I’m not okay.”
Know that some things can be fixed with prayer, a walk on the beach, a workout, a healthy smoothie – and some things simply cannot.
Know that there are many others just like you who know what it feels like to cry in secret; to be crushed by the weight of their own thoughts; to feel trapped and betrayed by their own minds; to experience the ebb and flow of turmoil inside followed by that terrifying darkness that is so hard to explain.
Know that I understand how much it literally, actually hurts to be inside your head.
Because I’ve been there, too.
That tiny pill that balances the chemicals and reactions inside my body – it’s not just keeping alive, it’s helping me to remember all the reasons I WANT to be alive.
You don’t have to share your story. It’s yours to tell or not. This is mine. If you’re reading this tonight, know that you ARE needed, you ARE loved, and you are not alone.