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The un-told, fragmented stories (Bell Let's Talk, 2018)

For me, fighting mental illness means fiercely fighting to connect, #BellLetsTalk has been a huge part of learning that. In the past, the initiative itself has often caused me confusion as to whether it’s good or bad. Though this year I’ve realized that, even though I’ll always have doubts, my main motivation is making sure we keep the volume up on this topic. There are still so many important aspects of mental health that seem terrifying to bring up, alone. The fact that there is a rush of togetherness on difficult topics has been essential to cushioning an entire generation’s fear surrounding things that are felt instead of spoken.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the fragmented stories from very complete and astonishing humans who I came across during my times in a few different psych wards. My time there is something I always hesitate to bring up, but the hesitation itself also reminds me just how important it is to share what I experienced there. There are so so many people who don’t have the option of speaking out. Words are hard enough to find, but even when you have words, they also require a solid place to go. When you live in a psych ward, you experience what it looks like when mental illness is all you know every day, and in all your surroundings. It’s a hospital where treatment depends on words. Though for many, that’s an impossible form of medication to source. I’ve met people who’s stories will never be voiced or appreciated. For me, today is about remembering that there’s a lot we’re still not hearing. A large part of mental illness as a topic is still pushed and hidden away.

Finding a way to express yourself is such a large part of being mentally healthy. I hope you know that it’s okay to stumble through that process. Know that you don’t have to be loud to be heard and valued. If you start in any small way you can – written, whispered or anonymously sent, it all matters and it is all worthwhile.

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