This past week has been a weird one for me. I’ve been trying to find my groove with this whole social media thing….Trying to stay true to myself, yet taking it personally at the same time when people unfollow me (recovering people pleaser and perfectionist here). Anxiety’s been really high, self-confidence a little low, and I’ve let discouragement get the best of me. So…. I guess you could say it’s been a real PAARRTAAAAY up in here!!! 🎉🤸
In my quest to figure out how to maintain a successful Instgram profile, I began browsing other Instagram accounts that had content similar to mine (mental health awareness, personal growth, improvement, motivation). As I was doing this, I came across a woman’s profile that caught my eye. I started looking through her pictures, and I noticed her most recent post was a list of how she decides what she’s going to discuss or post next. Number 1 on that list was; “Wait until I have conquered or mastered a specific struggle before talking about it with other people” (not verbatim, but you get the gist) Basically, until you’ve walked away triumphant, you can’t really be qualified to give advice to other people concerning said subject.
Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet or not…. but that is definitely NOT what’s going on up in here 😂 So I thought to myself; “Shoooooot. That’s the exact opposite of what I’ve been doing…..”
This totally got me second guessing myself, because I completely understand what she’s saying….
A math teacher can’t teach if he doesn’t know how to find the square root of…. whatever (I hate math). An employee can’t train the newbie if it’s also his first day on the job. Likewise, individuals who struggle with an addiction, or bad habit, or disability, need the help of those who’ve been through the same and walked away victorious to teach them. They know EXACTLY what is needed to win the fight, and there’s a lot of guidance and inspiration that hails from a victor’s perspective. Success stories. Beacons of hope for the hearts and eyes of those still waging the war…. Yes, we need those people.
But guess what?
We need you too.
We need the voices of the soldiers. The ones who are still fighting and finding their way – the warriors who get up every day and try again and again and again, despite every ‘fail’ and setback they encounter.
YOU have a lot to offer. Your perspective is unique, it is invaluable, and it is needed equally to the triumphant.
It took me almost a year to start this blog. Do you know why? Partly because I was scared of spilling the mental illness beans… you know, worrying about what people might think of me and all that jazz. But MOSTLY I was just waiting…..waiting until I got “better” to start writing about any of these issues because I wanted more than anything to do it from the Victor’s perspective. I thought I wouldn’t be able to help people otherwise. I’d be a total hypocrite trying to inspire people when I could hardly inspire myself.
After a year of waiting, I realized that I might be old and gray – or dead – before reaching “completely better” status. Kind of hard to write a blog without a pulse, so……………. and it’s amusing that, after 20 something years of suffering from these disorders, I thought somehow I’d magically be cured of it after ONE year without LEGIT intervention 😂👏 #cute #goodoneshawn
But this amazing thing happened once I ditched the notion that I needed a full recovery in order to be useful and allowed myself to be vulnerable….
People starting reaching out to me.
They reached out to me with support, with love, with encouragement…. and they reached out to me with stories of their own personal battles and challenges. Some trials mirrored my own, while others took a different form. It didn’t matter though – the feelings of hurt, hopelessness, heartache, pain – those are all universal. And as we share our experience and struggles with those around us, we create a habitat for compassion, support, love, and healing.
I’ve never seen myself as a strong person. Especially because of my depression and anxiety. I’ve always felt that, since I’ve struggled with these things for so long, somehow that made me weak…or a little broken. It wasn’t until recently that I realized for the first time – like REALLY realized – that that wasn’t true. I’ve been reflecting upon my life up to this point, and I’m starting to understand that I am so much stronger than I’ve given myself credit for. I get up every single day, and I keep trying. Even after my darkest nights or hardest trials….I find a way to keep going. I struggle, I stumble, I fall, I fail…. I have successes and setbacks. But I’m here, and I’m not going down without a fight. Even if I live my entire life not having completely rid myself of mental illness, I will live every.single.day doing the best I can.
And that makes me freaking strong. 💪
So, no. You don’t HAVE to wait until you’ve defeated the bad, the hurt, and the ugly to feel like you’re making a difference. Everyone’s story is unique and special. Your timeline isn’t going to be linear to the people’s around you. And that’s okay! Because of that, you have a whole HECK of a lot to offer.
To the person whose marriage fell apart, when that wasn’t part of the plan…..
To the single parents busting their butt for their kids….
To the women who are facing the devastation of infertility…..
To the mom who feels like her world is crumbling and she’s failing her children…
To those battling physical limitations or disease….
To the husband who lost his job…..
To the parents raising a special needs child….
To the parents who lost a son or daughter….
To the girl being bullied at school….
And to the person who wonders if the world would be better place without them…
You. Are. Strong.
Despite the obstacles, the fog, and the pain… you still get up. Everyday. You do the best you know how, and you keep trying.
And that makes you victorious.