It can be so scary sometimes to share your deepest secrets and your wildest dreams.
It can be downright frightening to share our biggest failures or most challenging fears
Where do these feelings come from?
It is the worry of what someone will say or think, the standards of society that have become deeply jaded by the effects of things such as social media.
We want to fit in.
We want to feel connected to others.
We want to be inclusive.
The reality is, what makes each of us different, is what makes us interesting.
Even with this, we still struggle.
People live life through comparison and lose touch with their authenticity.
The list goes on.
What if you were just YOU.
How would that feel?
You may be happier,
You may feel free
You may feel strong
You may feel deeply connected to yourself.
I want to challenge you today, will you accept?
You can start by sharing 1 thing below.
Something scary, a thought, dream, fail, or fear.
Watch how you feel afterwards.
You are one step closer to your radiant self, who is shining and stepping into your greatest potential but simply stating WHO YOU ARE.
I will start here myself and share something deeply personal and hope you do the same.
I have spent many of my earlier years scared of mental illness and what it represents. My mom was diagnosed with bipolar at the young age of 5, which wreaked havoc on my childhood. My deepest fear was that it was going to be a preview of what my own life would look like.
There were so many things I did not understand. At 5 years old and working my way through my teens I knew something was different in our household but did not know what it was. I knew that every summer my mom went away for a month, and understood by my early teens that she was sick.
By 16, I was her primary care-taker and responsible for her mental health after my parent's divorce. I had no real support system. No counselors, no siblings, and no support from my extended family. It was my friends that were there, to simply listen. I just figured it out along the way.
By 17, my mother was again hospitalized against her will. This was the 12th hospitalization she had since I was 5 years old, but this time I was the one who had her admitted. It was one of the more painful decisions I have had to make in my life. I learned how to my foot down with her doctors, I had to stay on top of her hospital stay and even testify against her in court so they would keep her against her will.
For those of you not familiar with the healthcare system, if you are not a danger to yourself or others they will release you even if you cannot take care of yourself. As a family member, you must be their voice, and be the squeaky wheel. If not, the patient slips through the system and is released. There is typically a shortage of beds, and they are quick to let “the quieter ones (my mom) go home, even if they are not better.
I had to set boundaries and deals with the nurses to hold back her cigarettes and gifts from family members until she takes her medicine. Does it sound cruel, it may. If you are judging me, you can but you have not walked in my shoes.
Otherwise, she thought it was a vacation. She would refuse her medication, refuse to participate in group exercises, and other necessary steps in the healing process. She would ask for personal luxuries like her own towels from home, only a certain brand of toilet paper, and other small but nice to have items. I refused to deliver them and worked with the nurse's station to restrict access until she cooperated because what I learned was the more comfortable she was, the less likely she was to participate and work towards bettering her health.
People disagreed with me and my way of handling this. I took a lot of slack from family members who befriended me. I did not have the luxury of siblings or aunts, uncles, grandparents to share this with me, I figured it all out by myself through trial and error. It was something that I knew I had to do, and God had given me this task because he knew I could handle it, even when I did not think I could.
These were some of the most challenging years of my life.Even though I knew I was doing the right thing, it was a lonely place to be. I had to make this decision on my own, and it would tear me apart from my family for the rest of my life. This continued for nearly 20 years.
Everything changed at 34. That was the year that I demanded her to have a social worker assigned because I needed help. In the end, my commitment at the age of 34 made a difference. I did not speak to my mother for a year until she agreed to sign the paperwork. It was not an easy thing to do, but it was the only thing I had left.
Sometimes we need to sacrifice what we want to do versus what we must do.
Maybe it is just a coincidence, but here we are ten years later and she is flourishing. She has not been in a hospital since! We have also worked together, while she changed her medication.
Back in the 1980’s a doctor put fear into her by saying if you stop taking this medication your heart will stop. I suppose this was his tactic so that she did not forget to take it, but in the end, it did the opposite. As medicine progressed through the years, she was afraid to ever stop taking it or try something new.
Finally, her medication was discontinued (that she began in the 80’s) and roughly 6 years ago moved onto a new medication. We had a lot of long talks about it, and I was able to help her control the worry. I noticed since I began my more serious studies of psychology and coaching, she began to listen to and trust me more.
This also, was about ten years ago, shortly after she had the social worker assigned. For those of you who do not know what that looks like, she still has her apartment and enjoys day to day life, but the social worker assists with aiding to some of her needs as well as being sure she is taking her medication.
I think that it was the right time for me to finally focus on myself now because there was that part of me that knew she was safe, and I was no longer alone. There was also the part of me that had more mental space available, so I could focus. I was obsessed with psychology since the early 1990’s wanting to understand, but it was when I knew that she was safe, that I was able to truly flourish.
Feeling ok to speak about my experience, has strengthened me as a person and I believe also begins to break the stigma around the hush-hush / shame mentality of dealing with mental illness that relates both to the patient and those around them. Mental illness is just that, an illness.
The sooner society is able to speak about it freely just as we do about diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer, the sooner that people will be able to thrive in life, and not feel like parts of them have to be kept a secret. I personally do not think that I can name one person in my life, who has not known someone personally who struggles with some level of mental illness, but I can say that I can count how many that actually talk about it.
To this day at 44 years of age, I am still deeply immersed in psychology and understanding the WHY of human behavior. For the last ten years, it has been my most focused studies, although I feel like it has been with me all my life.
This is why I have dedicated myself to coaching, and transforming the lives of people across the world. It comes from my deep belief, that we all have the answers within, sometimes we just need a little bit of guidance along our journey called life.
I want to be the example to inspire others of what is truly possible.
If this has inspired you, or you know someone who should read this please share it out or tag a friend below.