Mental Health: Let's Start the Conversation...

I read the blog post below this morning.  It is titled "Why I will never stop talking about kids' mental health" by Amy Hatch.  Take a moment to read it.

http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/why-i-will-never-stop-talking-about-kids-mental-health/?scid=fb_wall_us

I also recently saw this story about a boy who committed suicide because of a bully's text.  Get the tissues when you watch this story: http://www.barkvines.com/moms-sorrow/

It absolutely breaks my heart to read/watch stories like this.  Kids are suffering silently.  Families are suffering silently. 

SOMETHING HAS TO SHIFT!

We need to make some noise around these topics.  It is necessary for us to stop living at our extremities, hopeful things will be okay.  We need to start living at the core, where all these stories hit us, and take a step in the direction of being a part of making a difference.

I have been hesitant to be bold about putting my book out there because I prefer to be behind the scenes.  I am taking a step out in faith today because I am realizing the power behind my story and that it can, and has, brought hope to others.

My first panic attack was in third grade.  I get the struggles from a kid's perspective.

I had numerous panic attack's in Middle School and HIgh School while also graduating into having episodes of depression too.  I get it from those perspectives as well. 

I have been the twenty year old,

the wife,

the mom,

and the thirty something year old who doesn't know which way is up some days.  

I get it.

I am sharing my story with others because from the outside in, people around me never knew the struggles I had. Yet from the inside out, I struggled for decades.  

I expose my truth transparently only with the hope that others don't have to struggle alone, or for as long, as I did.  I want to kick the door down that hangs between people and society from having REAL conversations about the invisible wounds of mental health.  

It is a discussion needed for ALL ages.

Since writing the book I have received an overwhelming response from people sharing their own struggles with mental health, or the struggles a loved one of theirs has had or has.  We don't need to cover the pain of our struggles.  Henri Nouwen put it best when he said,

"The main question is not "How can we hide our wounds?" so we don't have to be embarrassed but "How can we put our woundedness into the service of others?" When our wounds cease to be a source of shame and become a source of healing we have become wounded healers."

I am asking you today to come beside me and join me on this journey to bring awareness to mental health struggles and that there is HOPE for all of us who have or are struggling with it, and for their loved ones.

I hope to get out there to talk with kids, young adults and adults about my story.  I hope to be an example of THE OTHER SIDE of the struggle.  The side where there IS peace.  Where all the negative turned into something good.  Where HOPE is the anchor for the soul in the waves of life.

I am not sure what coming beside me means for you.  Maybe it is sharing this post with others.  Maybe it is inviting me to come speak in your classroom, school or church.  Maybe it is getting my book and learning my story before doing anything else.  Maybe it is contacting someone you know who can help me share my story further.  If there is anything you can do to help me start this conversation, and keep it flowing and growing, I would greatly appreciate it!  

Together I hope that with LOVE as our core, as Ghandi said, "We can be the change we want to see in the world."

Thanks for your time and for your support!

Be well,

Shawn