By Alan D.D.
Just a few people know for real that I suffer from — let me take air! — depression, anxiety, stress, panic attacks and insomnia and that I’ve self-harmed in the past. A few years ago, telling even them felt impossible; to speak about my mental health was an unthinkable thing for me to do. Why should I let people know that I’m flawed and imperfect? I discovered why, when I started to do it.
Silence could have killed me
Silence holds a great power. Because of its very nature it can either help or damn you, depending on the reason it is used. It either keeps you safe wherever you are from judgement, insults and bullies, or it makes you sink on a daily basis with no rest between the crises. During my years of silence, it was the second outcome for me.
Ultimately there came a moment when I had to speak about my mental health, to open myself, or silence could have killed me. I had expressed everything inside me for a long while by drawing and writing. However, speaking is stronger than keeping your mouth shut. That’s something I had to discover the hard way, because no one had ever helped me know it for real.
There was a day I was sick of it all. I wanted things to change, I wanted everything to be as I wanted it to be. I started to speak about my mental health, I started to cry in front of them and cared not at all. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, mostly because you grow up thinking that only the weak cry and show their wounds. That is a mistake — I promise you, the truth is the complete opposite.
Speaking heals you
Over the next few days, things started to improve. I cannot point to an exact date. I cannot say, ‘That was the day I broke free’. It is not possible for anyone to do so. However, there comes a time when you realise you’re feeling better, that your speaking has been healing you inside, without you even noticing it until then.
Why should you, or anyone, care about what others say?
Focus and concentrate only on what you love, on your passions, on your likes. Keep them as your North, your haven, and start walking toward them. Never, ever look back, no matter how much the past starts to scream and tries to reach you. You’re better than you were before.
You won’t feel ashamed
Start by talking with someone you could walk into the flames for, let the words go out one time, and it will be easier the next. Then you’ll go for two people, then three, and then you’ll openly speak about your problems, your issues, what bothers you. Finding the courage to speak about my mental health started to heal my core, and it will make you stronger too, so when someone points a finger at you, you’ll be able to turn your back not feeling ashamed. At all.