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What Being Brave Means When You Live With a Mental Illness

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Some of us are brave for giving speeches in front of thousands of people. Others of us are brave for learning to walk after an invasive surgery. Some of us are brave enough to put our lives on the line to promote a cause we so desperately believe in. 

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For some of us that kind of brave is reaching out of the comfort zone. Throwing yourself out there. Taking that step when the other side can’t be seen. That is one kind of brave.

My kind of brave is different.

My kind of brave is waking up every morning and telling myself to get out of bed. My kind of brave is swallowing those newly prescribed antipsychotics every day and praying that they might eventually work. My kind of brave is telling the people I know about my mental illness, all the while knowing they will judge me.

And my kind of brave is choosing life. Yes, that’s my kind of brave.

And, because you woke up today, I’m here to tell you that you are brave, too. If this is the last day you can bring yourself to muster. If you are holding on by a thread that threatens to break. If you are contemplating a way to stop the madness. 



Be brave.

I know the struggle. I know the darkness. I know the suffering. I know the pain. I know the numbness. I know the chaos. And I know you think that in a single instant you could end it all.


Be brave for one more day.

And after that, be brave for the next.

Sometimes being brave isn’t climbing mountains. Sometimes being brave is as simple as finding the impossible will to make it through one more day.

So, please remind yourself of this today: 

You are brave. 

You’ve started another day. 

I don’t know how many days it will take for you to get better. 

But, I do know this: 

You will make it.

So, when you don’t want to wake up tomorrow, and it all feels like it’s just too much.

Please remember this:

You can make it through another day.

You are brave.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

 Thinkstock photo via sultancicekgil

Originally published: March 16, 2017
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