I spent the first 1/2 of my career (so a good portion of my life), allowing that career to define me, & WHO I was. I was “Eric the sports executive.” So…I get it, & I’m guilty of allowing situational things in my life, be not only how others knew me most, but how I best knew myself. Meanwhile, I (at least would like to believe ;)), had so much more in me to offer.
Why bring this up now? With it being Mental Illness/Health Awareness Wk (diff orgs are calling it diff things…neither name sounds particularly inviting/welcoming), there are sooo many msgs out there to help educate.
In one sense, it’s great that so many of us are using the info/imagery/slides out there, & repurposing them for our own networks, to help those we’re connected w best understand the challenges we (& others in our lives are facing).
Then; in another sense, it scares me a little too, bc I’m seeing a lot of posts & stories (& once again remember I certainly have been guilty), where the focus is showing others: what WE HAVE, WHO we ARE, & why others need to educate themselves.
I bring this up for a number of reasons: 1) for those of us w illness/disorder we are NOT our disorders, 2) as far as educating the masses, there’s a collaborative way it can be done, w/o separating as follows: “I have this, you don’t, you don’t know what I’m going thru, so read here & learn abt it.”
When we struggle, it’s human nature to tie ourselves to our struggles. MH dips (esp some that feel like they’ll never improve) are HARD. In a word, they SUCK. But they are NOT WHO we are, they’re WHAT we BATTLE.
Finding a path towards healing can be scary, bc it then takes away that label we’ve come to know ourselves by. W/o that label, who are we? What defines us? I can promise you though, having been in the shoes many of you are in, you can allow yourself to heal, you have more in you that you can offer others, you can always remember the pain & use your story to HELP others, & you can blaze a new trail that’ll open up life in so many ways that’ll bring you joy.
Use this stretch to educate, yes. But also use it to allow yourself to embrace healing & let IT go.