Last week I woke up, rolled out of bed and posted the picture and caption above onto Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. To be honest, I didn’t think too much about it. (Which may be a glimpse into some of my poorer social media choices?) The sheer number of responses I received floored me.
“Thank you for sharing this, nobody in my family knows I take medication for depression.”
“I have been feeling suicidal lately, this encouraged me to tell my mom and get help.”
“My pastor told me if I just had a little more faith I wouldn’t struggle so much – but you have faith, don’t you?”
“Thank you for reminding me that I can fight to heal the broken, even if I feel broken sometimes.”
All day long comments, messages and texts came in. Stories of broken hearts and unsure minds.
“It’s okay,” I wrote over and over and over again. “You are whole.”
And I will keep saying it, over and over and over again – to you, to me, to strangers on the internet, who now feel an awful lot like friends. This stigma that surrounds mental illness is lie, a falsehood that’s carried its way through generations, damning the wounded.
But it’s okay.
Here’s the thing though, I need you to promise me something; that you won’t stay in the muck alone. If you haven’t already, I need you to get help. Tell someone you trust. Find a professional. It’s okay to be afraid, I sure as hell was. The first three therapy appointments I made I cancelled. It took a mentor of mine bribing and strong-arming me onto that leather sofa.
Following that appointment I went on medication and for nearly six years nobody knew. I was ashamed, hell-bent on the idea that if only I were a little stronger, a better Christian and a better friend I could kick this on my own, silence the voices that sounded eerily similar to my own as they taunted me. But it wasn’t true for me then and it’s still not true for me now.
Some days I simply need help.
And that’s okay.
We’ll get through this.
We are whole.