"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light."
- Dr. Brené Brown, writer, professor, shame researcher
For a long time now, I've been feeling a strong push to tell this story. Openly and publicly.
So here goes.
I went through something 12 years ago that left me with social anxiety (more on what happened in another post). I spent many years trying to hide it, feeling shame for having it, feeling deeply flawed, and separate from "normal" people. Unworthy of love and acceptance. It affected all areas of my life, and it made me into a distorted, awkward version of myself.
I'm so grateful that, even through the worst of it, something in me did not want to give up. I searched relentlessly for ways to get better, because no one around me knew how to help. And I don't mean that as a way to place blame, it was simply that no one (including me) knew any better. Access to mental health care was not covered by insurance either, so... snowball effect.
(This feels like a good place to say how grateful I am for the people who didn’t distance themselves and accepted me as I was. You might've saved my life, we'll never really know.)
Through this search, I discovered so many ways to help myself. I found a name for my experience, read psychology books, made lifestyle changes, etc. I began taking better care of myself, and slowly… I started healing.
Which brings me to why I'm sharing this in the first place.
I reached a point where it feels worse to hide, than to get judged for talking about it. To this day, I appreciate and look up to the people who share openly about their innermost experience. I learn from them and feel less alone, so I wanna do the same for someone else, however I can.
This is me setting myself free to talk about it - to share what I found that works, to connect with people going through it, and share how we can all be better support systems for each other.
More to come.
If you’re in crisis right now, here’s a resource with helpline phone numbers. Please don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to people you trust, especially when you feel like isolating yourself more.