Perfect—a word that carries a weight too heavy to sustain. Perfect is a crutch I have used for much of my life. Imperfect and broken on the inside, I dared not expose the bruises to the outside world. I feared rejection, embarrassment, isolation, and shame. What I didn’t realize is that by denying myself the opportunity to experience true acceptance and support from others, I was instead developing a tumultuous inner voice that criticized, judged, and shamed me—all that I was so desperately trying to avoid. Over the years, through therapy and a commitment to emotional growth, my critical inner voice has softened. I have been able to shed my perfect outer skin to expose a beautifully imperfect soul. Writing for this blog has been a terrifyingly rewarding and affirming journey. The therapeutic benefits of processing my emotions and experiences through creative writing are immeasurable. I have felt such gratitude and joy in being a small part of a deeper purpose—spreading awareness, providing hope, and building a community that is breaking down mental illness stigma.
Don’t get me wrong—being vulnerable is still just as uncomfortable as it was the first time I hit the Publish button. When someone mentions my blog to me in person, I don’t entirely know how to react. There is still a pang of shame that washes over me, as if I was standing naked and exposed in a room full of people without the comfort of clothing to cover me. The brief panic I feel from the realization that the story I kept hidden for so long will be surfacing is made worth it by the incredible affirmation I have received by so many gracious readers. These comments give me the fuel I need to keep going. They show me that being vulnerable, as disconcerting as it feels, is worth it every single time. I can only hope that these words inspire you to dip your toe in the pool of vulnerability, and join me in exposing your imperfect self to the world.
“I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for years now and am finally starting to take action through counseling and medicine. Thanks so much for being open and honest. It’s really encouraging!”
“Your raw emotional testimony rings so true for so many.”
“This is so emotional and inspirational. It’s a heroic tale of resilience.”
“You are not alone and thank you for being open.”
“So glad you started this blog, and so well articulated. You are such an amazing person and I’m so glad you are speaking out for mental illness, an often neglected subject.”
In an effort to build a community of support and hope, I am featuring a guest writer who shares her beautifully honest testimony of living with a mental health struggle. A huge thanks to Sarah Jernigan for joining the battle to fight mental illness stigma and to spread acceptance and love to all who are struggling. Click here to read Sarah’s story.
We build strength in our togetherness. If you want to join in breaking down the stigma of mental illness, if you want to inspire hope in others who are suffering, or if you want to experience the therapeutic benefits of being vulnerable, please visit my contact page to send a message.