No, this isn’t going to be a post about hot, steamy relationships or anything like that.
Sorry to disappoint.
Actually, this post is about what you’re passionate about, or rather, what I’m passionate about. My last blog post was all about finding inspiration and passion to motivate you to do things. A passion can be very fulfilling. I did mention what I’m passionate about (mental health advocacy, speaking out, and sharing my story), but I didn’t really say why I’m passionate about it.
You see, helping people has always been a personality trait of mine. At points I go to extremes and help people to the detriment of myself, or rather at my expense. But lately, I’ve been regulating that. Now I want to help people in a healthy, fulfilling way. Let me explain. I love helping people. I don’t do it for the attention or for the recognition (although, let’s be honest, those things are nice), rather I do it because it;s needed and it makes me feel good. When I see someone that really needs my help I feel important and needed, I feel powerful and strong, and when I see the aftermath of me helping them, I feel as if I have contributed something to them that they really appreciate. And to me, there’s no better feeling than that.
Now I don’t mean to say that I help people all the time, because if I’m honest (and I try to always be honest on this blog) there are lots of times when people need help with things (like dishes or stopping at the store or things like that) and I’m just like, “No thanks. I’m good. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.” I think all of us have had moments like that.
Now, when I became depressed I felt so alone. I didn’t really know anyone who had gone through depression (I mean, I do have family members that had gone through it, but we never really talked about it). When you feel alone like that sometimes it makes you feel like there is something majorly wrong with you. Like why is this affecting you so badly when other people seem to be just fine? Is there something wrong with you? The answers to these questions are rather the opposite of what I thought was true when I was going through depression. I thought I was the odd-one-out. That my depression was so much worse than everyone else’s. That everyone else could handle it but I, for some reason, could not. Looking back now, after I’ve talked with many people who have suffered with mental illnesses, I realize that I couldn’t have been more wrong. People suffer with depression (and mental illness) in many different ways. One person’s experience with it can be completely different than someone else’s experience. The truth is that there are people struggling out there every day. And some days, yeah, it might seem as if they have it all together. But you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. They could be suffering as much as or more than you. Or less. You know what, though? That’s not what matters. It doesn’t matter how you’re suffering compared to someone else. Comparing yourself to someone else all the time won’t do you much good, because all of us, we are individual people – we all experience things differently, at different times, in different ways. The important thing is just knowing that you are not alone.
I used to think that there was something seriously wrong with me. I thought that “I should be able to beat this depression on my own. It shouldn’t be that hard.” Just because you’re suffering, does not mean there is something the matter with you. And sometimes, reaching out for help can be the best thing. Asking for help can be a sign of strength.
But when I was depressed and struggling, I didn’t really understand all of this. I was so “self-centered.” This isn’t mean to be a bad word or term. When I say self-centered here, I mean that I was really thinking inward. I wasn’t really focusing on other people and their problems. I was focused on me and my problem. And you know what, that’s what depression (and probably other mental illnesses, too) does to you. It sucks you into this hole where all you think about is yourself and how bad you feel. This makes it hard to connect with other people and learn about other people’s experiences, thereby preventing you from noticing and learning from others.
If I had had someone to talk and listen to from the very beginning I might not have felt so alone. Don’t get me wrong, as time progressed I found many people to talk to: family, friends, group members. But at the very beginning it would have been nice to know what other people had gone through. To know that I wasn’t alone. To know that there wasn’t anything wrong with me just because I was struggling.
This is where my passion comes from. I want so badly to be that person for somebody else that is struggling. I want to be that person who speaks out about their life and their story. I want to be able to inspire people, to let people know that they’re not alone. To let them know that there is someone who can attempt to understand what they’re going through. If I could reach out and just touch one person’s life, to help one person feel less alone, less scared, or less like something was wrong with them, I would consider myself especially blessed. It would be an honor to help people in that way. So I’m speaking out. I’m trying to reach out to those who struggle or to those who know someone who is struggling and let them know: you are not alone.