If I am honest, as much as I fight against stigma, try to normalize other people’s feelings, share encouragement and validation, and share pieces of my journey, I still struggle with accepting myself and my story. On one hand, I see beauty, meaning, and purpose in what I have struggled with and how I am able to use it to help others. On the other hand, if I am honest, part of me is still self-conscious.
Sometimes I feel crazy, a fake, insecure. I feel self-conscious as I walk into a psychiatrist office, after all they are known to laymen as doctors for crazy people. I feel self-conscious as I take my own medication, knowing some of the clients/patients I work with aren’t even on meds. I feel self-conscious when my own anxiety wants to break through at work, such as the multiple times I have become anxious because I am at a loss of what to say to my client, or the one time when I became so anxious at work that I became fidgety and accidentally pressed the security alert button.
The vulnerable truth is sometimes I feel broken. I think who am I to act like I got my crap together when I could easily be on the other side?
However, in spite of the awkwardness, the self-stigma , the shame, I still share pieces of me and my story. My story is beautiful because it drives me, drives me to care and to help and to be compassionate.
Wherever you are in accepting your own story, know you are not alone. I once felt I had to hide it all away or pretend I was ok. Then that wall came down. A lot of my walls have come down in time. My self-stigma has improved greatly. I like how well I am doing both in coping with the anxiety and depression and in being real and honest about my experiences with them. I feel more confident as a result.
In spite of all that progress, I can’t say the insecurity is completely gone. Honestly,I would not have chosen anxiety and depression if I had had the choice.
However, I am at a place in my life where I am actually thankful for it- thankful for the ability to empathize, thankful for the passion I have to help others, thankful that I am able to be a testimony of hope. In spite of the shame and the pain and still struggling sometimes to accept myself-anxiety, depression, quirks, flaws, strengths, hopes, personality, and all-I am thankful. I am thankful for how far I have come and thankful to help others accept themselves even as I continue learning to accept myself and my own story.