IN THE SHOES OF ANOTHER…

I always write these posts with one specific person in my mind in the hopes that the message can bring some sort of enlightenment and help them in anyway possible.  Today, my message goes out to multiple people as I know this is a widespread topic that many people are currently facing and can relate to.

I’d like to take the time to speak about what its like living with someone who is facing a mental health disorder.

I know what it’s like to try and place yourself in the shoes of another… its not always so easy.  Trying to understand what someone is going through when your not going through it yourself can be at times incredibly frustrating.  Trying to listen as best you can and help in anyway possible can lead to the complete opposite result you were once expecting, instead being told to go away or that you “don’t get it”.  I know when I was going through my difficult times with anxiety and depression my parents did the best they could, however, through those times in the beginning I felt as though they didn’t understand how I was feeling.  As a parent you always want the best for your child, you know how much they are capable of and how much they can achieve so when they aren’t doing so its incredibly easy to get disappointed or snappy with them.  When they tell you they are uncomfortable talking in front of lots of people, that they are struggling to get up in the morning, that they are afraid to be judged or called out, afraid to be compared to someone else, to talk about certain things, to go somewhere, or are just plain unhappy, its so easy to get upset and raise your tone and push them to do it because you know they can.  However, I’m telling you from first hand experience that its not always the best way to react.  The most important thing that you can do as a parent, sibling, aunt/uncle, grandparent, or friend, is to simply be there for them, love them and to just listen.  Even to the things that they don’t have to say.  It really is a solo journey for that person where you have to take baby steps alone and figure things out, so having that understanding support system that is there not to push you but embrace you and aid you is what makes the difference.  Each person facing a mental health disorder goes through it at their own pace, in their own way, and in their own time.  Having that patience to let them go through it and not making those simple things more difficult for them is incredibly important.  Always celebrating the baby steps without automatically pushing to larger goals and realizing that what your child is going through is completely out of your control, is strong advice I can give to you.  Speaking specifically to those around me, I know that for them not taking what other people had to say to heart and having faith in yourself and what you’re doing as a parent is what is needed.  Never blame yourself for what you could’ve or felt you should’ve done because at the end of the day you are doing your best and all you can.  Don’t feel helpless because by giving your love you are making a world of difference.  I’m telling you now that it could be a long journey with tears and disagreements but that you must know that good things will come at the end.  Unfortunately, we can’t just snap our fingers and take a loved one/friends troubles or pain away like we wish we could.  By just being there with them, listening, having patience and giving them support and unconditional love we are doing our best.  Knowing also, that it is completely fine to get help with a therapist or counselor if needed, sometimes having someone you don’t know that you can talk to can also make a world of difference.  Mental health should not be treated as a taboo thing anymore, so many people face this and it must start to be treated as a disease like it is.  There is no need to feel embarrassment or shame for the things you go through and it’s so important to realize that your opinion is the only one that matters.  I hope that this message brought some insight to you and someone you know going through a mental health disorder.  I hope you were able to take something away from it. As you know, if you ever need someone to talk to I’m here<3

I’d like to leave you with a quote:

“At the roof of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country.  Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.” – Michelle Obama

 

-Sierra xoxo

 

 

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BEING VULNERABLE.

Being vulnerable is something that I, as well as I’m sure many others struggle with.  Opening up and sharing with someone else the way that I’m feeling, the struggles I’m facing, as well as my true self without a facade, can sometimes be difficult for the fear of what someone else might think.  Feeling the need to “fit in”, keep up with another’s lifestyle, or copy the way another person leads their life, is something that is socially constructed and robs us of our ability to see the strength in differences and the joy that comes with being yourself and having wholeheartedness.  Being unique and vulnerable, showcasing your talents, fears, passions, culture, and differences, is what makes us all human and we best cultivate our love when these things are on a platform for all to see.  When you think about the risks that come with being vulnerable, whats greater? Learning to let go of what people think? Or letting go of how you feel, what you believe, and who you are, to please another?  I don’t know about you but I would choose to let go of what others think.  It can be hard sometimes, but at the end of the day you already have those close to you who love you unconditionally for the person you are.  Who have seen you at your worst and best and haven’t left and who would continue to move mountains for you.  So why not try to show your true self and allow yourself to be vulnerable with others you’ve just met? Whats the worst that could happen? At the end of the day you can only make a connection with someone if you are being authentic and bringing all of yourself (no matter how different or unique!) to the table.  Sometimes when we are ourselves and share our stories, no matter how difficult, it can inspire one person to get on the right path, to follow their dreams, face their fears, or to take that first small step because they feel that they are no longer alone and can do it.  As Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”

This blog is a way of me working on my vulnerability as the stories and words I write are all personal and from the heart. I’ve learned to let go of judgement through this and at the end of the day I write, in the hopes that one of you reading this behind your screen can take something away from it and that it can bring inspiration and change to a certain aspect of your life for the better.  I encourage you all to become more vulnerable as it will bring so much more joy and love in to your life.  Inspire others by being yourself. Thanks, Sierra xoxo

 

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What I’d tell my 2 year ago self and anyone going through Mental Health issues….

When it comes to speaking about mental health, it’s often still a very taboo thing in today’s society. It’s not understood by enough people because it’s not something that can be “seen”, only felt by the person going through that very fight. The thing with a mental health issue is that no one ever chooses it, or puts it in their life. It just shows up. It’s a disease that at some points is beyond your control and that’s something that is often misunderstood. A year ago, when I was going through depression and anxiety I was told to “snap out of it”, and believe me, if I could snap myself out of it I wouldn’t have been going through any of that in the first place. A year later and now being a much stronger person, I wish I could’ve told myself and others going through similar battles that it’s okay to be vulnerable. To ask for help when you feel as though you can no longer keep fighting. To not feel ashamed of the person you are, or of the hard times you are facing. To not get upset at your self and to treat yourself with more kindness. To realize that the people who are closest to you and love you are your biggest supporters and have your best interest in mind. To not alienate yourself because that will only lead to worse feelings when alone. To not suffer in silence, to always speak up. To try and keep yourself calm when others say they understand what you’re going through, even if you feel they don’t. To realize it’s okay to not feel okay and to not understand what’s going on in your head, or why you’re feeling this way. To not hide under a mask that isn’t a representation of your true self and to realize that it’s okay to let your guard down. To get help from a professional and to not privatize your struggles. That it’s alright to scream, cry, get angry, upset, and sad, as long as you never give up.

Even though it’s not easy to see the finish line, I promise you will get there. It only takes one small step at a time. The most courageous of people are those who fight battles no one even knows about. In today’s society, we need to be more open with mental health as it’s no different than if you were to have an ailment. It’s not right that people have to hide their feelings or suffer in silence, in fear of judgement from others who are ignorant or quick to make assumptions on something they don’t even understand. My challenge to you all is to fight and raise more awareness on mental health and to tell YOUR stories, as your struggles shape you in to the incredible person that you are today. The take away of this message is to care less about what others think because at the end of the day being honest about how we feel does not make us weak, it makes us human. Please raise awareness for #mentalhealth… Thank you❤️ ~Sierra xoxo

 

Help lines:

ConnexOntario (Mental Health, Addictions)-1-866-531-2600

Suicide Prevention Line-1-833-456-4566