After reading nearly 30 entries to the Get Gutsy Essay Contest, over the next few days, I’m thrilled to share the three winning entries! Be sure to click over to this post to read the gutsy stories from 29 inspiring participants.
The second winning entry comes from Amy Chick, a solopreneur with expertise in branding and copywriting. This post is a very important read. I had chills when I read it and immediately knew I had to feature Amy’s story as a contest winner because her message needs to be heard. Please read on.
It was summer 2013, one of those few precious days per year that seem perfect in every way. I should have been outside soaking in the crystal blue sky, maybe enjoying a book on my front porch. Instead, I was watching the day fade away through the gaps in my window shade.
It was two days since I had gotten out of bed. Two days since I had spoken to friends or family. Two days since I had cooked myself a proper meal.
I’ve been battling major depressive disorder on and off for as long as I can remember-possibly my entire life. Until that perfect summer day, I never reached out for professional treatment despite several serious episodes in recent years that almost drowned me. I was fine. I was handling it, Olivia Pope style.
I was in denial.
Here’s the thing about mental illness: you feel alone until you talk about it, but no one talks about it – so you feel alone. You suffer in silence until you hit rock bottom.
You savor in the sweet relief of isolation and, at the same time, feel the sting of bitter disappointment as you let another day slip away.
You push away the person who loves you the most, until you’re left holding the frayed ends of a strained relationship.
You grasp blindly in the darkness for something-anything-that will help you come up for air.
Prior to seeing a therapist, I always convinced myself that my depression was something I could handle on my own-I just had to be strong enough. What I’m realizing is that true strength means reaching out for help when you would rather fold up inside. It means sharing yourself-even the ugly, scary parts-when it’s easier to hide.
The truth is, I’m not okay. And that’s okay.
If getting gutsy is about taking risks and making yourself vulnerable, seeing a therapist and following through with my treatment-and sharing that experience with complete strangers-is one of the gutsiest things I’ve ever done.
And if you’re reading this from your own little corner of darkness, you should know that you’re not alone.
This post was written by Amy Chick as part of the Get Gutsy Essay Contest. Amy is in the process of launching her website (she did so with this contest!) so be sure to stay tuned to her site for more.