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I’m Not Brave for Sharing My Mental Health Struggles

April 4, 2022 Laura A. Barton

I, like many, have been called brave for sharing my experiences with mental health struggles. It’s always sat weirdly with me as I’ve never seen myself in that light. I’m not brave for sharing my mental health struggles. I can see how folks would see bravery in speaking up when mental health stigma is so rampant. Yet, the term still isn’t one I identify with. It doesn’t fit quite right.

Labels and Understanding Our Experiences

Humans and labels are a bit of an odd thing. We either seek them out or seem to reject them outright, sometimes within the same space. For instance, it’s helpful for me to have labels for my struggles because then I can understand them better. I can understand that the darkness in my thoughts is depression. I can understand that the chaos that also lives there is an anxiety disorder. I can understand that my inability to stop picking my skin is excoriation (skin-picking) disorder. In labeling these, I can decipher how to combat them. Before I found those labels that fit, nothing felt right.

In a way, that’s how I feel about the word brave. When people say I’m brave for sharing my story, it doesn’t feel like it fits. Looking at the literal definition—that to be brave means facing or enduring something that causes pain or fear—I can see why people are quick to hand out that label to people who talk about their mental health struggles. It can be an act of bravery in the wake of mental health stigma.

But even looking at it like that, it’s not the right fit for me. If anything, I see speaking up about mental health struggles as an act of survival.

Speaking Up to Survive Mental Health Struggles and Stigma

Many of us would agree that staying silent while struggling with mental health issues is as dangerous as it is harmful. It can lead to considerations of suicide because that seems like the only viable solution.

If I hadn’t started writing and talking about my depression, anxiety, and skin picking, I might not be here today. Giving voice and language to these issues helped me find a way to survive them, as well as the stigma that tags along with mental illness.

I can’t stop people from feeling how they feel about these kinds of things, and I’m not saying others shouldn’t feel brave if that resonates with them when they talk about their experiences. But, for myself, I will say I’m not brave for speaking up about my mental health struggles. I’m surviving.

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2022, April 4). I’m Not Brave for Sharing My Mental Health Struggles, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 11 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2022/4/im-not-brave-for-sharing-my-mental-health-struggles



Author: Laura A. Barton

Laura A. Barton is a fiction and non-fiction writer from the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada. Find her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.

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