A campaign title IDONTMIND was launched yesterday as a part of Mental Health Awareness Week.  Their website reads “Our mission to defeat the stigma surrounding mental illness starts with a simple phrase: IDONTMIND.

By saying IDONTMIND, you can help break down the barrier of stigma and bring hope to those who are struggling and afraid to speak up. Together, we can generate positive messaging and find creative ways of reaching those who need encouragement.”

Just as I did during the Here For You Campaign  I again feel pulled to the topic of taking the stigma out of what 43.8 million Americans face every year.

I don’t mind telling you I started to struggle with depression when I was eleven. This actually doesn’t seem so vulnerable to share.

What does feel vulnerable, is that I still have my struggles around it. It certainly does not overtake me like it used to, but I still have some fear that someday it could. Much of my personal work has been around this fear.  Depression will always be a part of me that I can touch into.  As a person in a helping profession, THIS part feels uncomfortable to admit.

I think a lot of time people in helping professions feel they have to have completely overcome what they struggle with before lending a hand to help others. It is true that we need to take care of ourselves first. This personal work is crucial. But taking care of ourselves does not mean being perfect and 100% free from all that ails us. We are human.

What impacts us deeply in our lives is what makes us passionate and willing to find a new way. While it does not help to become attached to our stories, they are (in a way) roots that fuel our desire to make the change we want to see in the world.  We don’t transform by cutting off our roots but by growing taller and less defined by them. We start to relate differently to what causes us to stumble.

This week has been riddled with horrific events. I do not know how to help enough. But with the week corresponding with Mental Health Awareness Week I did want to speak openly and personally on the topic as something real and not something that I have completely stepped out of. I believe relating to each other in this honest way is one small way to change what is happening in the world.

We don’t need to be perfect to help. Let’s take some pressure off the drive to be perfect, completely free of, or 100% transformed from what set us on our path. We need helpers now more than ever.

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