I shared an incredibly personal part of my story on my my social media yesterday. The outpouring of support I received after the post was incredible. I felt the outpouring of love. I heard from others with similar histories.
I spoke my truth. I live with a mental illness and each day is work. In case you missed the post, you can check it out here: My truth. I’ve been through hell and back thanks to my bipolar 2 disorder. Does it make things chaotic in my household? Sure. My husband is kind, understanding, patient, endlessly helpful and supportive- without him, the hard days would be even harder. And let’s talk about my friends… goodness. Over the years, I had some doozy moments with them. As of late, they’ve talked me off ledges, calmed me down, given me affirmations I needed to hear. They’ve been such a light to me on some dark days.
That being said, I’ve finally decided on my passion project. I’m launching a project called ‘It’s Time.’ I named it, fittingly so, for the fact that it’s time we open up a conversation on mental illness. It’s time we support each other. It’s time we unite. It’s time we stand up and say that we are enough, we’re not broken, we’re in this together.
Opening up about my struggles from both my adolescence and into adulthood. This incredible project will be a featuring of all humanities, in black and white, who also suffer from mental illness. I’m going to do portraits of my peers and let them, in their own words, share their stories. My purpose is to unify my peers, friends, strangers- make meaningful connections with those on similar journeys. My hope is that those who haven’t had any experience with a mental health issue, will learn, see, understand and accept.
There is such a stigma surrounding anxiety, depression, bi-polar, postpartum depression and many others. It’s not that we can’t ‘just be happy and move on’ or ‘get up and function.’ We do, but it’s a struggle. The days where you can’t do anything, you’re just sad, you feel that panic creeping in, or you’re manic, uncontrollably so. None of those things make you ANY LESS A PERSON. It’s a lack of understanding about these disorders. Statistics are staggering. 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness. 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. This is straight from the CDC. Use this project as a vehicle for education, to learn. See that it’s your next door neighbor, your friend, your boss, your cousin, your mom, it’s the captain of your old high school football team, it’s the CEO of a multimillion dollar enterprise. It’s ME.
So, I open up the doors for you to send me your story. Be part of my project. It’s Time.