I have written several blogs submitted and posted in Thrive Global, and I am very grateful for that. I have spent a lifetime trying to find my voice and speak on what I was told as a child I should stay quiet about. As a child, I had no diagnosis, no label, and no understanding of what was going on. I knew nothing of PTSD, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, or clinical depression. My life has been my schoolroom for each of these issues. I have learned of each of them as any road scholar would learn their craft.

My education has driven me to do the best I can to help others find and use their voice and heal. Some may never actually share as I do, blogs, podcasts, books (3), or speaking. Some may only be able to share in the privacy of a clinician’s office because the fear of the stigmas surrounding any mental health issue can be paralyzing. So, I have made it my purpose in life to be the voice for those that cannot openly share their pain.

But. Now, I am silenced in many ways, not totally, or I would not be even writing this article in these trying and horrific times. It can be difficult to find and hold onto hope. To continue to push forward, we must see the light wherever we can and focus on it with eternal vigilance.

Since the pandemic hit the U.S., our suicide rates have escalated. Domestic violence is through the roof, people in recovery programs are relapsing overdosing, and dying, and everything to do with a mental health issue has exploded.

I am not trying to be negative, just real.

Hope! We must look for it even when we think there is no evidence of it in sight. IT’S THERE! We must be committed and determined to never give up and never to stop hoping.

One of the biggest pitfalls and dangerous places for someone to be that lives with a mental health issue is isolation. This virus has made isolating almost impossible to avoid. Still, we must find ways, and a means to connect because connection is the antidote and the healer of any of the issues I have had to face. Through fellowship, we heal. I know it is simply not the same to connect on Zoom as it is in person and a virtual hug is not the same as feeling someone in your arms. For the moment, we must try to keep ourselves safe and trust that this is one more trial that will only make us all stronger in the end.

During these times, I have had to double down on my work to stay ahead of the negativity that can take me down that dark tunnel into the abyss of depression. I have had to work extra hard on my Thought Management to keep my mind as free as is possible of the negative thoughts that are so self-destructive. I have had to be creative in finding ways to help others, for helping others is one of the most healing things I can do for myself because it always makes me feel better about myself, my life, and the world around me.

I challenge you to share your story with someone. You may be the only book they read today. Let someone know through your courage, they are not alone, there is hope, and the darkness does not have to win.

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