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Why I Choose to Be Vulnerable and Tell My Mental Health Story

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There are lots of types of stories. Stories are told in countless different ways. Some stories get told. Other stories are kept silent. We label some stories as true. We’re told some stories are untrue. Sometimes others convince us, or we convince ourselves, that our stories don’t matter. But they do. Each and every story, consciously told or written or unconsciously ingrained, matter. The human brain thrives on stories.

So when do we choose to tell our stories? And why?

There came a time, after I began sharing more openly about my experiences with mental health and chronic pain, that my story felt less “mine.” It began to feel like something “bigger” — something less, “Kylee and her isolated feelings” and specific experiences and contexts. Something more, “we had these types of things happen to us, we had these struggles and we coped the only ways we could.” Yes, telling my stories openly still terrified me; vulnerability has this effect on me to this day. But I began yearning to find a way, find a medium, find an angle to tell my story in ways that would translate, resonate. I had this urge to assign my stories new purpose.

I do not mean this in a “my story is the perfect story” or “my story is more important and I want the attention on me” type of way, although people will say that regardless of how untrue it is. I tell my stories because I believe, deep down, that stories like mine need to be told. I believe someone out there may be in a similar situation to something I was in. Someone reading this may be cowering in a ball of anxiety and hiding in their closet, believing the lie their demons are telling them that “no one will understand” and that they’re alone. All I really want is for at least one person to feel less alone. Stories like mine are not just plot lines in movies or “something that happens to other people, not us.” I could be anyone.

However, I am not everyone. I present the lessons I learned based solidly here in my experiences, my feelings, reactions, etc. Others may react differently — very differently — and that’s OK. Actually, more than OK. There’s no such thing as a “normal” way to respond to stories of trauma and battles with mental health. There’s no “right way” to react, there’s no “perfect” response. Showing varied reactions, stories of and responses to trauma and mental health struggles helps to dispel the many myths and misconceptions that surround them. We must destroy that which holds us back; that’s why I tell my stories.

What stories do you tell? Why?

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Thinkstock photo via guruXOOX

Originally published: July 1, 2017
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