My passion is helping people take the risk of staying true to who they are as well as bringing their unique gifts out into the world. I believe so strongly in living authentically because it has been the heart of my own transformation process.
I spent much of my earlier life in the grip of Major Depression. I wanted so much to be like everyone else (more like my perception of everyone else). I thought the key to ending my suffering was to deny any part of myself that did not fit neatly into the box of how I thought I should be. I felt shame about the parts that were different and experiences I had been through. Growing up this way caused me to shut off and shove down so much of who I truly was.
Depression is not something you can just snap out of. You are not weak or weird for having depression. Though, I personally view weird as one of the top traits a human can hold. The misunderstanding around this causes shame, which adds to the stigma which adds to, and adds to, and so on.
After many years of inner work, outer work, and support I began to express who I was differently. This time it came from an internal source. I learned that the more I lived from the truth of who I am, the more space opened for freedom and fulfillment to come into my life. I stop trying to fit myself into a box with dimensions determined by others.
This has been a lifetime journey and I will always be a work in progress. My struggle with this shows up every day. Should I hide and feel safe but shut myself down? Or should I take the risk of being seen expressing my truth? Should I take the risk of listening to the voice inside that guides me toward living a life true to myself? Or should I stay in the perceived safety of a life I think I should be living? This is a crossroad I pause at many times a day.
I keep coming back to what’s important in my life. By continuing my journey of being true to myself, I hope to offer others the opportunity to be true to who they are. I advocate for bringing our experience with mental illness out into the open if it feels right. It is experienced by many, yet few people talk about it. There is no shame in admitting where we feel stuck or struggle in life.
I am continually reminded about how we never tell what someone is struggling with behind closed doors. This includes those people we pass by on the street as well as those we think we know well and see daily.
I feel so much for those that are traveling through life struggling with mental illness. I see their struggle. I see them feeling stuck or trapped. I see them not able to trust the days that they feel a little better because of the persistent worry about when it’s going to come back. I see their anger and questioning around why this is happening to them. I see them wishing they could just snap out of it like people suggest. I see their struggle to keep a large part of their life hidden. I see their worries about how it’s affecting the ones they love. I see their fear while wondering if they will feeling this way forever. I am able to see these things in others because I have felt these things myself.
But guess what…I also see their courage. I know they don’t see it but I do. I see their creativity. Creativity is not only creating art with paint and pencils, it’s the ability to get crafty with how we live to get by in life. Many who struggle with depression get through their day by tapping into the abundant amount of creativity within without even knowing it. I see their wisdom. Unfortunately, or fortunately wisdom comes alongside suffering. I see their empathy which allows them to care so deeply about causes around them. I see their whole being, not just the symptoms they are judged and plagued by. They are unique. I see their passion and the changes they long to see to in the world. People who live with depression often view the world differently than most. We desperately need people who view things differently. They are the game changers who will save our butts one day.