I knew I could ask for help, but I didn’t. Family, Church, Friends, Professionals all to my access but I stayed silent. I thought, “this is just a phase, it’ll pass, I just have a lot on my plate.” Yet years went by of me functioning very low as the anxiety manifested physically for me. It would quite literally make me nauseas (among many other not so pretty symptoms). I carried the heaviness and stress in my body. All the while my business grew, my following grew and inside the Instagram squares a polished, curated feed of what looked like a happy, thriving young woman but behind it all I was in distress. I was embarrassed I could not get this under control. It felt like torture. I’m sharing this today on #WorldMentalHealthDay so that you can know that shame is a lie to keep us in bondage. Ask for help. Talk to someone. I started to release myself from this grip it had on my life after I finally got fed up (and don’t get me wrong I still have to actively be on guard so it doesn’t creep back in). Through my prayers, the Lord brought the exact people He knew I needed and I began my journey to healing, but It took me years to get there friends and I wish I didn’t wait as long as I did to start. As I slowly spoke to close people: Neal, my family, pastor, doctor, naturopath and finally a counsellor I trusted, I was able to better understand and manage. I took the time to invest in my mental health (and trust me I could find all the ways to resist/avoid it), which really took up most of my 20’s and now as I am in my 29th year, while I wish I didn’t “waste” so much time, it’s a part of my story. It’s a beautiful, responsible and freeing thing to seek healing and work on your self development. There is no shame in needing help for your mental health. You do not need to suffer silently, no one gets a badge for this.

If you are going through the worst of it, please know I have been there. You are not alone. I found my strength when I was able to be vulnerable. The other thing, if you are reading this and don’t have anxiety/depression but know someone who does, please be kind. Saying things like, “it’s not worth worrying about it, why stress?” does not help (but I’ve heard worse and it is soul crushing when you are already so hard on yourself for feeling this way). Compassion and understanding is what is needed, not judgement. My hope is that this day or my post can bring some awareness to a topic I feel gets overlooked and one we can all relate to if we are being honest with ourselves. We all have our “stuff.”

This year I’ve been stretched in a lot of different ways but I’ve learned that God never wastes our pain and there’s always something good He can bring from it. Something I’ve reminded myself of this year is: “I can do hard things” (Phil 4:13). When I say this to myself, I remember what I’ve been through and how He has ultimately used all of it to sharpen me and given me His power during my weakest hours to give me strength. So just remember, if you’re in a season where you feel lost, fearful, anxious or confused by what’s been put in your lap to deal with at this time, you won’t break. You are growing and even here there is grace for you and you can trust that there will never be pain without something new that will be born out of it that is for your good:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“I will not give you pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9