You Are So Brave…

“You are so brave to share your story,” many people have said to me throughout the years.

“Thank you,” I’d humbly reply but never felt like I was brave.

Each time I share my story of living, surviving and overcoming severe mental illness it becomes easier and the need to be brave becomes less. Additionally, the statement of “I am so brave to share my story” becomes even more inaccurate and untrue.

“I never felt brave. I was just being me–the only way I knew how to be.”

I know when people say I am brave to share my story of living with mental illness, they think it is a compliment. However, sometimes it doesn’t feel like a compliment. It reminds me they think I am different than them, when I don’t feel as if I am and I don’t want to be.

“I just took a different path that brought us to the same place.”

To me, it sounds like they are saying they think my story is so unbelievable and different that it must take courage to speak about it and I should be ashamed of it. I, on the other hand, am not embarrassed or ashamed of my life or myself. I am proud of who I have become and my strength, courage, determination and resiliency to overcome my illness and many obstacles along the way.

To be brave you must be fearful of something first and it must be difficult for you to do. But, it is not difficult and I am not afraid to share the story of my life. I tell my story to increase understanding, make people happy, share love, inspire hope and encourage others that recovery is possible and that life is worth living and fighting for.

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When someone says I am brave it makes me feel like I should be embarrassed and ashamed to tell my story and share who I am, but I want to share my story and who God helped me become. Since it is my passion and calling to help others through writing and speaking about my story and mental illness, it is easy for me to do. I am not ashamed of myself or having mental illness and I am very proud of being a survivor and know I am beyond blessed to be alive.

Some people may think I am brave to share my mental illness journey because it is difficult for them to share their own stories. The reason people have to find courage to share their stories and even talk about mental wellness and recovery is caused from the stigma of mental illness.

Stigma puts fear in people to share their own stories. I pray one day people will feel free and uninhibited to share their stories and NEVER have to live with the fear of judgement or feel shamed. We all need to hold our heads up high and be proud of who we are and what we have overcome and accomplished.

People who live with mental illness need to understand and truly BELIEVE that mental illness is NOTHING to be ashamed of. It is an illness that you acquired and is never your fault. Instead of being ashamed of having a mental illness you must be proud because you are truly a survivor and an inspiring hero every minute of every day to keep fighting through the pain and stigma of mental illness.

The fact that I am alive to share my story is a miracle in and of itself. First and foremost, all the praise and glory must be given to God. I must share God’s goodness, grace and mercy to all I meet. That is the main message that needs to be shared and heard. I strive to always let God’s love shine through me and touch others.

Additionally, the praises and compliments need to go to the listeners and readers of my story. I am thankful and beyond words grateful that I have an audience to listen and read my story.

Thank you for reading and listening. I hope I helped and inspired you in many ways. I share my gift of life with you so that you can live and thrive in your own life and enjoy the pure beauty of living and the precious miracle in each breath of life.


© 2019 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Comments

    1. I am happy you can relate. I totally agree. That is what it is. It is a calling for me too. It is something I must do so it is easy for me. I am just happy when someone wants to listen and/or read. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it greatly and I appreciate you .

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Maybe they think that you sharing your story is brave because they’re not as comfortable sharing theirs…and for the record, I’m glad that you are boldly “teaching” others to love themselves as they are. Your “story” is empowering and critical to ending the stigma that so many of us face in dealing with mental illness. Thank you… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Thank you so much for your great feedback. I appreciate it greatly. I agree that many people may think I am brave because it is difficult for them to share. The part that makes me sad about that is that it all stems from the stigma of mental illness. Stigma puts the fear in people to share their own stories of recovery and living with mental illness. It is unfortunate and why I want people to understand that there is NOTHING to be ashamed of at. all. I pray one day people will feel free to share their stories and NEVER have to live in shame That needs to end. Thanks again for reading and commenting. I appreciate you .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I often feel the same way you describe here. When people say you’re so brave it really feels you’re different and somethings wrong with you. Same if you put out pictures in a bikini and you’re not a size 0… I know many of them see it as a huge compliment but we who lives with this everyday it is a reminder that were not like them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I agree with you. The reason people have to feel brave to share is because of the stigma. It is unfortunate and I pray one day it will end and that people will be able to share their stories of recovery without shame but with joy and pride. I am happy you could relate and understand. Let’s keep sharing our stories and end the stigma of mental illness. Much love and hugs, Sue

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      1. Thank you. We should not be ashamed. We have nothing to be ashamed of. It is so hard to fight the wounds of stigma but we have to remember it is not our shame to bear. They can have it and I do not want it or need it. Much love and hugs, Sue

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