When I finally decided to do something about my mental health, I was so overwhelmed by the shame and the labels I was acquiring; addict, depressed, "mentally unwell" I didn't reach out for help, or even share with anyone what I was going through. I held everything in navigating my path to recovery alone because I didn't know anyone who had all these labels, I was ashamed, afraid and felt very alone. This worked for 3 years, I was in this shame spiral of who I was, even though who I was, was actually the most stable I'd ever been. I suddenly had the realization that if I didn't share who I was and what I experienced I was only continuing stigma and stereotypes. It was then that I started to live my recovery out-loud. To wear my labels with pride, because I am one of the lucky ones who has had the opportunity to not live in active addiction, or spiral into a depression so deep I cannot climb out. I am lucky because I sought help in a variety of ways and had to advocate for myself within the mental health world.
I choose to share parts of my story through the One Brave Night initiative in hopes of someone in my network and beyond not feel so alone, or someone may think, hey if she can do it maybe I can, or even better to have someone reach out to me and ask me for help to try to help them to stabilize as I have.
Today I will be the first to tell you that I have 5.5 years of sobriety, that I take medication to stabilize my depression, that I had postpartum depression so badly that all I wanted to do was run away from my family and my beautiful baby boy. Today I am proud to be a sober addict, and someone who suffered from depression and postpartum depression because without these labels and my taking action against them, I wouldn't be able to show up and be present for the labels of Mother, Best Friend, Sister, Daughter, and Employee.
No one should feel alone we are all affected by Mental Health, please contribute to my One Brave Night fundraising efforts, to allow CAMH to continue the great work they do.
I live my recovery out-loud in hopes that others will too, and that my children will grow up in world with less shame and stigma around Addiction and Depression and in hopes that they will never feel alone because these conversations happen out loud.