First blog post? Awesome!
First time making my own website? Crazy (and confusing)!
Hello People of the Internet! I’m glad you stopped by and discovered my blog. This is obvious a work in progress as I’m still trying to figure out how to make my page look pretty and organized!
I’m Amanda Wilson and I’m on a mission!
Besides being a teacher and working on becoming a published author, I am also trying to break down the barriers surrounding people living with mental illness. I have been living with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) for over four years. While my family and close friends knew of my battle, I was afraid of anyone else ever finding out. But if it’s one thing I learned about healing is that you need to be your true self, regardless of the good and bad.
So, last January, on Bell Let’s Talk Day, I decided to take to social media to voice my support for mental health by talking about my own illness. I bared it all to the world, feeling both terrified and vulnerable! (The picture above is what I posted to Facebook! Crimped hair, what was I thinking?) I was scared. I sat staring at my computer screen, waiting for all the negative comments to flood about my photo. But none never came. Instead I was overwhelmed with support and good vibes through my friends and family. Some people were obviously shocked to hear about my fight, but they were proud to see me take a stand for mental health!
Thus started my journey to help bring awareness about mental health. I’m sure some people see my post and think, “What a psycho,” but those people don’t matter. My fight isn’t for them. My fight is for myself and for the hundreds of others who are too afraid to show their battle to the world. I’m trying to start a conversation about mental health. We need to break down the stigma. We need to see those suffering with mental illness and take it seriously. It’s not just a figment of our imagination. Our pain is just as real, and just as physical, as someone who suffers from heart problems, diabetes, and so on.
My goal is to bring awareness to mental illness. My dream is to one day live in a world where I am not judged or discriminated against because of my illness. Of course having mental illness has changed me, but I am still ME. I am still Amanda Wilson, the girl who loves reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, who finds beauty in the small things, and loves writing novels and fiction. That hasn’t changed over the last four years. My illness hasn’t been a death sentence (though it did feel like it at first), it is just a part of who I am now.
Sure I have days where the pain is too much to bear, when the anxiety becomes so overwhelming that I can’t even go to Walmart to pick up toothpaste or walk out to my mailbox and get the mail. Sure the depression gets bad sometimes where all I can do is lie in bed and let my mind become overwhelmed with dark thoughts, hating myself. Of course I still have night terrors of the events that had triggered my illness. Sometimes my fear seems illogical, but it’s real to me. Some days I’m afraid to answer the phone because it reminds me of the hurt I’ve been through.
Sure my illness is overwhelming, but I’m a fighter. Once I decided to fight my illness, I started to get better. While this is still a journey for me, learning ways to deal and live with my illness, I’m still me. And that is all that matters.
So, I hope my little bit of inspiration and courage can help you change your mind about mental illness. If you’re not sure where to start your fight, there are services and counsellors who are willing to help you. If your not sure how to start a conversation, I encourage you to research one mental illness and start from there. If you’re really unsure, ask me! I will be glad to talk to you about mental illness and share with you my own experiences (which I plan on doing in a later post, once I figure out this website!)
So join the conversation! Speak out! Start your own fight! Break down barriers! Help stop the stigma about mental illness.
See you in my next post!