Today, I had my mock version of the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Ending The Silence Young Adult presenter presentation to the NAMI-Dallas Youth Programs Coordinator, Lisa, so that she could approve it and give me the go-ahead to be allowed to give my part of the Ending The Silence presentation in front of teachers, parents, & students. I was nervous, but I used the notecards with the bullet points I’d typed out on them to give my try at what I’ll be saying in front of others when I give the presentation “for real”. The mock presentation went well. It went really well, and Lisa officially gave me permission to start signing up for and giving my presentation to the groups of people NAMI-Dallas gives presentations for.
Now, I don’t normally cry when I tell my story to anyone. I’ve been over every single detail, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the indifferent, to myself, my friends, my family and my professional team members a million times. But today, I started getting a little choked up & almost teary-eyed on the last 1 or 2 notecards, at the conclusion part of my mock-presentation. Why? I never get choked up about my story. I never cry when I tell my truth.
I think it’s because this moment was real for me. It was very, very real. There I was, sitting in the NAMI-Dallas office in front of Lisa, telling her my full story for the first time, like I will tell it to hundreds more going forward now. I got choked up just a little bit because I’ve wanted this for so long. I’ve waited so, so long to be ready to do this, to be healthy enough, to be stable enough, to be living life & living it well enough to tell my story to others and represent an organization like NAMI while doing so. One of the only things I’ve ever wanted, since I was at least 12 years old, is to tell my story “for real”, in public, and to impact lives. I’ve wanted to tell others what I went through and what I continue to go through, not so I can get pity or sympathy or anything else because trust me, that’s really the last thing I want. I want to tell my story so that others know they’re not alone and so that maybe those who listen can help themselves or someone the know because of what they’ve heard me say.
No one should have to go through what I’ve been through, really. I wouldn’t wish my story upon anyone. However, like a phoenix out of the ashes, I have risen and I continue to rise. That’s what I want my message to be.
Don’t be ashamed of your mental health condition. Seek help for yourself or someone else, because you may just save a life, and know that there is good life to live with mental health conditions.
If I can do it, anyone can do it. Truly.
Yes, I absolutely still have my “bad” moments, days, weeks, and months. The conglomeration of conditions I have is certainly no joke and I, like anyone else, am not immune to tough times and wanting to give up. I’m not immune to “why me” moments and wishing that the life I live wasn’t mine just as much as I wish it wasn’t anyone else’s. But I rise. I rise from those moments and those thoughts every time, because days like today give me a reason to live and to continue fighting. Days like today give me a reason to say “why not me” instead of “why me”, because if I can help someone else because of the hell I’ve been through…if I can change, or…even save someone’s life because of what I’ve been through…then yes; Why not me?