I am now into my fourth year of participating in One Brave Night and I couldn’t be happier that this cause continues to grow strong. As I have shared in previous years, I myself have been touched by mental health, being diagnosed with depression and BPD as a teenager. In recent years, I have become a mental health advocate, pushing people to open up and share their story, in the hopes of ending the stigma. I recently became a volunteer at the distress centre and couldn't be happier to be part of the fight. I am also part of the peer project, mentoring a youth with depression. Even though I feel stronger than I ever have before, I continue to face struggles like everyone else. Below is story I wanted to share.
In the latter part of 2017, I found my mental health was dwindling. I was going through a rough time personally. Someone told me I wasn't good enough to be a part of their life. I sunk into an all time low. Something else also hit me at this time, my obsession with social media. My mom was constantly asking me why I was on my phone, who was so important that I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. The answer was, no one. I could barely sit through dinner without checking my FB newsfeed. I could barely go an hour with checking Instagram stories. If someone blocked me, I took it as an all time personal offence. I realized something needed to give.
We live in an ever changing society. A society that is so focused on social media and portraying the best moments of our lives. Ideologies that the more followers you have, the more likes you get, the more popular you are. Have you every stopped to think about what it is doing for your well-being? It’s actually proven the more we use social media, the less happy we are. Constant comparison, constant jealousy, constant fear of missing out. These are all emotions social media sparks. That feeling of not being enough. At the end of 2017, I took a 4-month hiatus. I deleted my Facebook, my twitter and my Instagram account. In essence, I disappeared. I took those 90 days as a technology free challenge. Instead of scrolling through Instagram on the train ride home, I took out a book (how old school). Instead of reading my Facebook homepage while sitting on the spin bike, I actually pedaled harder (who knew how hard cycling could be). I went cold turkey and it was a challenge that turned into a new lifestyle. The moral of the story is I stopped caring what other people were doing and starting caring about what I was doing. So this year I challenge you. Take a break and enjoy the experiences and moments life has to offer. Instead of staging your photo (you girls know what I mean), try to actually laugh and enjoy your night. If you don’t want to stop “using” at least try to use in moderation. Better yet, use to empower and inspire.
As for the boy drama, that took a lot longer to resolve. I took the remainder of the year to focus on myself. I can confidently say that I am enough, and it's a feeling that once you achieve, no one can ever take away.
It’s time we all start to realize that mental health is just as important as physical health, after all our mental health drives our physical health.
Let’s keep the talk going. Any donation is greatly appreciated in the continued fight to end the stigma. Let’s stop dreaming of a world where mental illness is not a weakness, but a reality.