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September 12, 2013 / Ang

We need to speak up and shatter the silence.

Okay, so I’m not sure if anyone else has this situation, but some days my news feed on facebook is FILLED with links to THE SAME upworthy post. Or several links to the same video or transcription or article about a post. And today, I happened upon a post that resonated with me. I don’t usually watch videos – I prefer to read the transcriptions. It’s easier for me to follow that way sometimes, but this kid was a powerful speaker. His name is Kevin Breel and he did a TEDx Talk about depression.

I think that his talk applies to so much more than JUST depression. It applies to other aspects of mental health, such as eating disorders. It applies to social anxiety. It applies to illness too. He makes an assertion at one point that we’re all so accepting when any other part of the body breaks, but the brain. I think he’s a little off on that part, though, because I know what it’s like to have a chronic illness and worry about if you’re talking too much about it. To worry that people aren’t going to stick around because you’re just too sick and you’re no fun. And I know what it’s like to get lower than low in the grieving process. 

I want to share his video so that you guys can hear him speak, but I also want to share the different quotes that really resonated. I tried SO HARD to transcribe the parts of the video that hit me the hardest – but it’s a little bit difficult to do with brain fog and other stuff. So hopefully I got it mostly right.

Honestly, I can’t even decide how I want to share these. So I guess I’ll go with I’m just going to do the quotes chronologically. And maybe I’ll explain why some of them hit me hard.

For a long time, I think, I was living two totally different lives where one person was always afraid of the other. I was afraid that people would see me for who I really was.

 

For a large part of my life I feared myself. I feared my truth. I feared my honesty. I feared my vulnerability.

If you have ever had a secret, but especially one that you were so afraid would come out because of the stigma – I’m sure you can empathize. I feel like this applies even to secretly being shy and freaking out in social situations. You always wonder if you can just keep this supposed confident image up or if people are going to find out you’re secretly “a freak.” If someone is going to figure out who you are underneath it all and run for the hills. I’m so scared of it. Always. And if you think that I can’t understand all of those fears, maybe you ought to look back and read some of my other blog entries such as “Fear” and “Sometimes I hide.” Probably an even better illustration of all of this is when I shared my history of (and current complicated relationship with) anorexia. It’s not something you just “get past;” it’s something that’s always there, a small voice in the back of your head leading to doubts. And I fear vulnerability. I fear it big time. Pretty much anyone who I consider a trusted friend (or anyone who reads this blog regularly most likely) can tell you that. The scariest thing in the world for me right now is allowing someone to see what a mess I really am, and caring about the person, FINALLY allowing myself to be vulnerable – because once that happens they may run away.

… You don’t beat it once and it’s gone forever, it’s something you live with. It’s something you live in. It’s the roommate you can’t kick out it’s the voice you can’t ignore it’s the feelings you can’t seem to escape. And the scariest part is the scariest part is that after a while you become numb to it. It becomes normal for you and what you really fear the most isn’t the suffering inside of you it’s the stigma inside of others. It’s the shame it’s the embarrassment it’s the disapproving look on a friend’s face. It’s the – it’s the whispers in the hallway that you’re weak it’s the comments that you’re crazy.

 

We just push it aside and put it in a corner and pretend it’s not there and hope it will fix itself. Well it won’t it hasn’t and it’s not going to because that’s wishful thinking and wishful thinking isn’t a game plan it’s procrastination and we can’t procrastinate on something this important. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one and we can’t really expect to find an answer when we’re still afraid of the question. 

 

Preach it. AMEN! (Please, imagine sassiness. It needs to happen. Far too much intensity at the moment.)

If you think that true strength means never showing any weakness then I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. You’re wrong because it’s the opposite. We’re people and we have problems. We’re not perfect and that’s okay.  

The above are words that I really needed to hear. And then I’ve been having a conversation with someone while writing this post that has really just hit this nail on the head. Dear, Kevin – your message has officially been driven home. Okay?

And finally, I just want to leave you with some words of wisdom (including paraphrasing something he said).

We all know what it is to hurt. We all know what it is to have pain in our heart. We all know how important it is to heal. 

 

It’s time to accept that, and remember that we’re not the only people who hurt. And it’s time to educate society on how to accept our imperfections, the flaws we may perceive in ourselves, and how to work through them toward healthy self-image and communication.

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