I Get it!

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“ I get it.” Three little words. They don’t seem like much on their own but, when you put them together, they have the potential to change someone’s life.

CherylI heard those words and felt their impact after deciding to talk about my struggle with mental illness. The first time I shared my story, I was terrified. I was afraid of how people would react and that I would be judged and labelled. However, an amazing thing happened. Whenever I spoke about my mental illness, someone would approach me, email me or call me to tell me that they were battling too. They could relate to something I said and, in turn, could reassure me that “they get it.”

I heard those words and felt their impact after deciding to talk about my struggle with mental illness. Click To Tweet

I don’t think I can describe the feeling of relief that poured over me the first time I heard someone say, “Cheryl, I get it.” It was confirmation that I wasn’t alone; that someone else had been in the same darkness, and could relate to how I felt. Those three words became a life line, a connection to someone who actually knew and understood mental illness. It really was a life changing moment.

The challenges of life with mental illness become a little more bearable when you hear someone say, “I get it.” When I’m feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and completely drained of energy, I have a tendency to beat up on myself. I start to list out my failures and shortcomings and my broken brain convinces me that I have utterly failed myself and my family. I feel like the worst wife and mother in the world. That’s when those three words are most powerful. Whether spoken by a friend or a total stranger, those three words always manage to reach me when I need to hear them most. A friend will call to encourage me and remind me that they get it. They get how I’m feeling, they challenge my broken thoughts and keep me from sinking further into depression. My family will surround me with love and encouragement and, help me with day- to- day life. They give me time to rest and tell me I am loved and valued. I’m so blessed and so thankful because I know they get it and that gives me strength to keep fighting.

As a Christian, my strength and comfort come from knowing that my God, who loves me and knows me, gets it too. When I’m crippled by fear and lost in a cloud of depression, I know he’s with me, guiding me through it. He knows my name, my weaknesses and strengths, and has a perfect plan for my life. There are times I wonder why that plan had to include mental illness, but I’m starting to see that he’s able to use my dark moments to work out His plan. He gets it, and because he gets it, I trust him.

When I’m crippled by fear and lost in a cloud of depression, I know he’s with me, guiding me through it. Click To Tweet

In the past, I’ve asked myself if anything good could ever come from my struggles with mental illness. The answer comes with every opportunity to share my story. I share with the hope that someone will hear me say, “I get it” and find the courage to reach out for help.

My own children, in recent years, have both been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. In their moments of frustration and confusion I’ve been able to reassure and support them because I’ve been there too. I can tell them that the darkness and fear won’t last forever. Together, we’re able to challenge the messed up things our broken brains try to tell us. When the anxiety and depression are at their worst, we’re able to give each other practical advice and help because, we get it. We’ve used those three words to help and encourage each other through some really
tough times.

Cheryl-Family_sm

There are still so many who are facing this illness alone because the stigma keeps them from stepping out to find help. More than ever, they need to hear us speaking out, sharing our experiences and letting them know, “we get it.”

I’ll keep talking and doing my part to help shatter the stigma surrounding mental health. Don’t be afraid to reach out. There are so many of us who understand because we’ve been there too.
There is help and there is hope. Trust me, I get it.

I’ll keep talking and doing my part to help shatter the stigma surrounding mental health. Click To Tweet

 

This Broken Brain

 

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