God, I love this quote! I want to plaster it on billboards and t-shirts! Never in my life have I been afraid to share my story, talk about my struggles, and celebrate my successes. To some, this is considered brave. To others, stupid. Some even distance themselves from me because they fear that MY story will somehow impact THEIR story in a negative way. Whatever. To each their own.
Despite the negative reactions from some, what I have learned over the years as I share my experiences through social media, my blog, and now here on Healthy Minds Canada, is that my story has changed lives. Telling the stories of my emotionally abusive marriage, my experiences with anxiety and depression, my subsequent PTSD diagnosis, and how we have navigated my son’s Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnosis has changed me. I’m not ashamed of those things. They have shaped me into who I am today. Were some of those experiences exceptionally negative? Hell yeah! 8 years with an addict was no picnic! But let me tell you something…..I wouldn’t change it for the world! Because that doormat of a girl who went into that marriage came out of it emotionally battered and bruised, but strong as hell. I now know what I deserve in life, and will settle for nothing less.
And sharing that experience and the diagnoses that came out of it has changed others. I don’t feel embarrassed telling my story. And I know my willingness to share has helped others. I know because of the countless number of friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc who have messaged me privately over the years to say ‘me too’ or to ask me questions about what they should do. Some may not know my story is relevant to them now, but having heard it, they will recall it at some point in the future and know that I have navigated this bumpy road as well, and I can help them. I may not have all the answers they need, but sometimes the most important thing people need is to hear is simply, “I get it,” or, “It won’t be easy but you can do it.” Oh, how hearing those words would have changed things for me!
I felt hopelessly alone, which is why I started sharing my story publicly via my blog and through social media. There was some initial backlash. And let’s be honest, depending on my current topic, there still is! My phone rang off the hook after a certain post from a few weeks ago, with people calling who still do not feel it is appropriate for ME to tell MY story. Please don’t get me started on that!
Sharing my experiences freed me. It gave me a voice during a time when I felt I had none. And when people responded with similar stories, questions, or just supportive comments, it slowly healed me.
Not everyone is comfortable with publicly sharing so much in this way, and that is their prerogative. There is no judgement here if that is your decision. But I know that my experience of sharing my story and my journey has strengthened me, and I know my story has put others on the path to healing as well. Even if just to tell them ‘me too’.
LazyGourmetBlog is a Grimsby, Ontario mom, navigating the daily struggles of a personal PTSD diagnosis, and the challenges of raising an almost-teenager with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. As a former professional ballroom dancer, her personal struggles with anxiety and PTSD have very often been hidden in plain sight, presenting their own unique challenges in this very public former profession. One of her favourite quotes is, "The journey is the goal," and that motto carries her through each day, learning, supporting, and carrying on.