Be bold. Be fierce. I never understood what those phrases truly meant until I started living them for myself. The last few months I’ve taken control of the power inside of myself and made some bold moves in my career and personal life that are starting to pay off. I’m loving the fierce woman that’s been waiting so long to come out of me and what she’s been able to accomplish in just a short time.
Just over a year ago, I was broken and distraught at where I was in life yet again. Depression had me firmly in her grasp and I was desperate to escape her clutches. I wondered if I had the strength and resolve to climb back out of the hole I found myself falling into. It was in those moments, that I again reached out to the supports available to me and sought treatment for my condition.
With the love and support of so many people, I began to climb. And other than pausing at times to reflect on how far I had come, I kept climbing. Things began to fall into place as I set goals for myself and achieved them. I was able to return to full-time employment after being away for two years. It was a bumpy start but I persevered and today, I feel successful in my job. I get a great deal of satisfication in what I do to help others and I feel valued and appreciated amongst my co-workers. I speak openly about my illness in the hopes of reducing stigma and I’m proud that it’s working!
I also became more involved in my advocacy work in creating connections for people living with mental illness. Like my job, there were a few stumbles along the way, but I feel like I’m finding my way and even leading the way in raising awareness and inspiring hope. I’ve made some incredible connections with others who also live with a mental illness and everyday I’m inspired at the courageous lives they live.
I have dreams now and honestly feel like I will achieve those dreams. I admire myself for my strength and resiliency to carry on when sometimes the burdens were heavy. I’ve gained an appreciation for enjoying life in the moment and accepting the good and kind things that are coming into my life now.
People with mental illness are amazing. They are the bravest, most courageous and strongest people I know. Everyday they battle their minds to just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. And they do this despite society calling them crazy, lazy, and disposable. They are the most compassionate and empathic people I’ve had the honour of knowing and I’m blessed to have so many other warriors in my life.
If you yourself battle mental illness, my hats off to you. You matter and you make a difference by being in this world and don’t let anyone, even yourself, tell you any different. We all have a purpose for being here and you will find it. If you love and support someone with mental illness, thank you. I know that it takes incredible strength and powerful love to stand by while your loved one struggles and we couldn’t do it without you. Keep on believing in the one you love. They matter and they have a purpose.