As a lot of you know, I spoke on a mental health panel tonight for my church. Catholic Charities is an organization run by the diocese that I live in, and they had a mental health segment at SFX these past two weeks. They made an announcement about it when I went to mass a couple of weeks ago, and I went up and talked to the people in charge of the program after mass. I told them about how I love to help others and share my story, and they asked me to be on their panel.
So tonight was the panel discussion and the other people on the panel were two doctors who specialized in mental illness, and also a priest from the diocese. They were a very insightful group of people, and they (honestly) offered up a lot more information about mental illness than I ever could. However, I did get to share my story, and so many people came up to thank me afterwards. Which is weird. To get thanked for doing something you love, it’s a weird feeling. The two people running the program kept saying that I was brave and courageous for being able to talk about my experiences with mental illness, but it’s almost like a second nature to me now. I always appreciate kind words, of course, but I wouldn’t say being brave is the personality trait that I evoke when giving talks. When I tell my story and give talks, my biggest thing is trying to keep everything concise, while also telling the whole story. I don’t want to leave anything out, but I also don’t want to ramble on forever.
The reason I’m posting this is to kind of talk about myself. I know I talk about myself a lot on this blog, but this post is even more personal than usual (if that’s possible).
The things I’ve overcome in the past year have been incredible. At this time last year, I thought I would be depressed forever. At this time last year, I was still cutting myself to cope with the mental pain that I was feeling. At this time last year, I was in an almost constant suicidal state. Only one year ago, my life was hanging on by a thread. I never really understood what people meant before when they would say “what a difference a year can make!”, but now I do.
Life is so valuable, and it can be so hard to see that sometimes.
Now fast forward a year from all of those terrible things happening. I’m on a mental health panel speaking to others about the importance of mental health awareness. I’m not depressed anymore, I’m not cutting myself anymore, and I’m not suicidal anymore. I’m happy, and I’ve found the right medicine and the right coping methods for me. I’m satisfied and happy with life. And I want to make others feel that way. Because the person that’s feeling depressed and suicidal now, could be living their dream life a year from now.
What a difference a year can make.Never underestimate the power of your voice. Spread the word about mental health, and you can help make a difference.