Being An Advocate Through Lived Experience

It’s no secret that I am extremely passionate about Mental Health and over the last few years I have become more and more vocal about it, however, I often feel like I’m a fraud, a fake or even an imposter. I mean how can I begin to make changes to the way in which mental illness is looked upon by so many if I don’t have a degree in Psychology (I do have one in Sociology though!) or how can I make others understand that mental illness does not discriminate against anyone if I don’t have a degree in Psychiatry, or how can I make someone feel safe enough to take off their mask and start a life changing conversation if I don’t have some other kind of degree in healthcare? Well I guess the simple answer is; I have something way more valuable to offer because I have lived experience.

I may not have figured out yet how to help myself, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers but being able to openly and honestly share my story knowing that someone out there feels less alone or that someone out there shows more compassion toward a loved one who is suffering with a mental illness or that someone out there no longer judges another person because of their mental illness then I am happy to be that poster child who can help advocate for change and help end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Being able to connect with so many people (both young and old) during what has been the most challenging part of my life can be quite liberating and cathartic for me but often times after I share a blog or post something on Social Media is when I feel most like a fraud, a fake and an imposter. I mean how can I spread hope to others when I myself feel so hopeless or how can I tell someone their life is worth living when I don’t feel like mine is?

But when I am able to calm the anxiety and negative self-talk down a level or two and realize that I don’t need to be “better” or “cured” or “recovered” to help someone else feel less alone or to support them or their loved ones along their journey or to feel empathy and compassion toward others who feel just as hopeless or worthless as me because we share that mutual understanding and bond that goes beyond what any textbook can give us.

Our lived experiences may all be unique to each one of us but having the strength to share our stories together can make the greatest impact of all!

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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