So over on The Mighty‘s closed group for contributors, people are writing short passages on why they write what they write – be it all the articles for The Mighty, other media outlets or their own blogs. I started to read the dozens of responses but as I continued, I started feeling really pained and burdened – not by what they were saying but by how many people suffer and struggle daily.
As I read the entries, I slowly discovered that we all suffer and struggle in some capacity or other. It’s painful and difficult to talk about and yet, these people have decided to talk about it. Many of them would not want to be called “brave” just because they’re speaking up but brave is what they are and should be described as.
I don’t know if I, myself, can accept the adjective “brave” to describe my own pieces and my own writing as it is a difficult word to accept for ourselves. It is much easier to call others “heroes”, “courageous” and “brave” but to call ourselves such seems – at least to me – quite arrogant and boastful. I can’t say that writing and speaking about mental health issues is a particularly brave thing to do because I feel like advocating for mental health issues is what I’m supposed to do.
I asked S weeks ago what my purpose in life was and why I’m still alive – he had reminded me to seek the answer within myself. When I searched for the answer, I recognized that my purpose in this life is to share with others my life and my experiences – because who knows, maybe someone someday can benefit from it.
So I realize now, as I read everyone else’s reasons as to why they write, that the reason I write about my ADHD, depression, anxiety, self-harming tendencies and suicidal ideations is because I want to reach out to those who are afraid and ashamed of who they are and what they struggle with. I write because it not only empowers myself but also empowers others. I write because I learned this year that “When you share your story, others will too”. I write because after I started to do so, I started meeting wonderful people who struggle with other mental health issues in some way or other. I started to learn more about other people as well as myself. I started to understand my own capabilities and limitations and how to overcome said limitations.
I also write so that I can represent – at least in some minor way – those who can’t do so for themselves. It is my hope that through my writings, drawings and speeches that I will be able to contribute to the abolition of the stigma of mental illnesses.
I have found now that to keep silent is to give up my rights to be recognized as a functioning member of society worthy of being heard. To keep silent would mean allowing shame to consume me and to define who I am.
Instead, I now know that I need to continue this work. I only started a few months ago but the amount of times I’ve had comments from people who’ve been helped have been heart warming. I never set out to reach people – yet, somehow, I did. And that has made the biggest difference to me. It is now the force that will continue to propel me forward and to continue my path of advocacy. Knowing that my writings, drawings and speeches can help even one person – even if that one person is myself – is more than enough to be a purpose for me to persevere.