I was meeting a friend for coffee to go over some stuff last week, a friend who I didn’t know that well. Although earlier that week I talked more about my story during a volunteer orientation at the NAMI office. I knew bits and pieces of hers and I heard more of her story that night, too. It made me want to know her more, and I was glad that we were working on fundraiser ideas together, and even happier that we had the some vision.
We started talking about getting to know each other better, and she mentioned that she was inspired by my story because she had a family member who had a mental health condition and she had hope that said family member would be highly functioning and happy one day because she saw it in me. I’m not trying to toot my horn here, I have a point.
Then she said I was fearless. I kind of scoffed at that, it’s not a word I’m used to hearing. Matter of fact, if I listed 100 adjectives about myself, fearless wouldn’t make an appearance once.
But I really appreciated her saying it.
We finished our work, and went about our days, but I couldn’t get our conversation out of my head. I started thinking my new, dear friend was right. I am fearless. Sometimes.
When I first started this blog and admitted I had depression and anxiety — that took guts. I felt like no one else was talking about it. At that time, I didn’t know about NAMI GCC. When I started writing Letters to the Editor about my conditions and eventually turn it into a column, that was fearless. It’s hard to put all your business in a newspaper. And I felt I was still doing it all my own. Then State Rep. Todd Hunter asked me to speak at his (virtual) Suicide Prevention Symposium, and it felt like I was telling my darkest secrets, which I guess I was.
It was after that night NAMI GCC found me, and I no longer alone. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing support group after I left the psychiatric hospital, but NAMI GCC just got me — they knew what it was like to have depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc. It was a different kind of support, not better, just different.
In some ways, I am fearless. I mean, I did write a column about not being able to brush my teeth in the newspaper this past Monday. A lot of people won’t understand it, but I know my people will feel relieved someone is speaking their language. We gotta stick together.
And that’s the whole reason why I do it. Because when I first started writing my blog, I felt so alone. Nobody was talking about mental health, as far as I knew. Feeling alone just intensified my depression, and I don’t want anyone to feel like I felt then.
We have to bring it all to the light, all together.
But all of us with a diagnosis are fearless; that’s just what it takes to fight.
I’m thankful to my new friend for reminding me of who I was..or rather, who I still am. we