That's Not Why I Shared My Mental Health Story
My husband and I have received not only kind words and appreciation for being open about everything since, but we’ve also received an anonymous card with money inside and gifts from friends.
And I feel terrible about it.
I’ve never been happier than when someone reaches out to my husband or myself with a “thank you” or with their own story, saying it’s nice to know they’re not alone. Finding out someone else feels they can be open with their struggles because I’ve been open with mine makes this terrifying world and the everyday battle worth every minute of it.
But the immense guilt I’ve been experiencing while receiving gifts makes me question sharing in the first place. Did I do it wrong? Am I advertising instead of advocating? Should I tone it down?
That’s not why I share my story.
Can you imagine, paired with the irrational and inexplicable guilt that already comes with anxiety and major depression, the guilt of feeling like you’re asking for attention, when all you really want to do is help someone?
I’ve been scrambling to find ways to pay it forward – researching charities to give part of my paycheck to, saving money to adopt when we’re ready for children – but I just want to say:
Thank you, but I don’t want anything from you but support. When I share that I’m struggling, I just want you to listen, open your heart to the suffering of others and to give others room to share as well. Kind words and love are what everyone deserves, but if you want to do something to give back, please donate to a local organization or charity that helps with illnesses. That is a gift that will help so many more people, and it makes you a voice for people still searching for their own.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people who’ve reached out and who continue to show their support. Please don’t hesitate to seek me out if you need someone to listen and validate what you’re going through, because you’re absolutely not alone.
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Thinkstock photo via sirawit99