This is Why I Write About Bravery

By Kat Riley

I haven’t ever told my story as a whole. There’s been far too much at stake. In my mind, as far back as I remember, I have always had a very deep isolated and suffering “self.” A self that I neither like nor wish to admit to.

It hurts. Usually whenever I have attempted to confide, the reactions have been ones of anger, rejection, judgement or hurt. That’s why I write about bravery.

A good outcome?

I’m writing this because it might do something good. The power of the World Wide Web makes it possible to have a good outcome. Even if I never know about it, someone, somewhere may read this and think “Maybe I should be brave and get help.” Or more.

I still struggle on a daily basis to be brave. In the 30 years that I’ve lived, only in the past year have I been happy and felt safe, but there are still a lot of difficulties.

I’m saying in my writing to speak up

So, I’m writing to tell anyone with depression, anxiety, bipolar or whatever to speak up. Be careful to whom you chime those bells to, but try, because you matter, no matter how hard that may be to believe.

Almost 99.9% of the time I don’t believe I matter either, but I have to try, and I have found two people who I can confide in. It will make things better.

A note to people without mental illness

To the people who do not suffer with mental illnesses:

It’s difficult, confusing, and strange to be let into a world inside someone else, especially when it’s dark and filled with such negative things. Even as I write this, I’m scared because someone I know may read it and they’ll probably scoff, and roll their eyes. I fear they may deem I’ve done this for attention. It hurts. It hurts because I’m not doing anything for any reason other than I’m scared, and I hope I can help others feel less afraid. Maybe you could do that too, by being understanding and listening.

Please, don’t trivialise people who speak their truth

Bravery, true bravery, is when someone who wakes up everyday and feels they’re better off dead speaks their truth and asks for help. Please don’t turn them away by trivialising their pain.

I’ve had mine trivialised by people who I never thought would.

They have pulled faces and quickly changed the subject because they can’t be bothered with it. I have been told there’s nothing wrong with me, even if a doctor has prescribed me medications and therapy.  Having professionals help me still doesn’t seem to be enough proof for them.

A note to surviving sufferers

To the surviving sufferers:

Keep going. It does get better, so be brave and talk about your illness, regardless of people’s ignorance and selfishness.

A note to people who know a survivor

To the people who know a surviving sufferer:

Let them be brave. Let them show their truth with you and feel safety. It could save them. You could save them.

In my experience, over the past couple of years, if I hadn’t had the two people who cared, who could I tell absolutely everything to, I wouldn’t be here.

It’s hard enough when you hate yourself and dismiss your own importance. It’s even worse and intensified when someone who knows you dismisses how you are due to their ignorance towards mental illness.

Let them have their bravery.


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