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When I Finally Found a Community That 'Gets' Mental Health

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Don’t get me wrong, my friends and family are great support systems; for the most part they know how to cheer me up and when to be there. But it wasn’t until about a month ago I realized how nice it is to have people who actually get what you’re going through.

You see, a month ago I was approached with an opportunity to co-lead a Twitter account @teamnotashamed and its #imnotashamed campaign. I was super excited, and thought it was going to be another good way to advocate for mental health. I knew there would be some insightful conversation with the other co-leaders, but I didn’t know how much I would get by joining this team.

The other leaders have become like my sisters. They are always there for support, we can share pretty much anything and there is absolutely no judgment because we have all been there. But it isn’t just the co-leaders who are like this. Within the short month we’ve become a team, our family of supporters has grown to more than expected. Every day we receive an outpouring of tweets and messages from people sharing their stories, sending encouraging messages or letting us know how we have helped them. Others also feel supported in this community. By connecting with others who have gone through similar experiences, or have experienced the same stigma, you feel accepted and welcomed for just being you.

There isn’t anyone stigmatizing you or telling you you’re wrong, weak or that it’s all in your head. All you are told is that there is a big community out there who supports you and has your back, and that is the best feeling ever. After seeing how much it has helped in this short period of time, whether it be for mental health or anything else, one piece of advice I give anyone going through something is to try and connect with people in a similar situation — it is the best support group you will ever find. I’m so thankful I found my Team Not Ashamed family.

Originally published: March 23, 2016
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