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Have you ever watched someone in recovery fearlessly leading mental health movements, writing books, and lobbying for mental health support? As you have, did you think you were far too weak and weary to ever use your voice to change the world?
In the midst of depression, it is easy to feel like we cannot find our voice. When symptoms like exhaustion, weariness, weakness, and difficulty concentrating or motivating oneself are at their worst, we often wonder how we could accomplish anything.
We feel like we can’t find our voice because we are not ready to live as full-time mental health advocates.
We can’t fathom running a blog, writing a book, and leading 50 speaking engagements.
My own journey with depression and recovery taught me even at the darkest times of my life, I had a voice. I just had to edit my conception of what finding it meant.
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Finding our voice does not have to mean projecting our voice for everyone to hear.
Rather, it does mean doing whatever we can in our current situation to tell our story of mental health hope.
Our story can be one of mental health recovery, or it can be one of continuing to fight. It can be a story of small victories or a story of pain showing others they are not alone. We can tell it with our actual voice, or share through artwork, music, hugs, friendship, or written words. It can be shared face-to-face, on a blog, or in front of crowds.
For me, the way I shared my story changed over the course of my recovery. In the midst of my darkest lows in depression, finding my voice meant finding the courage to tell people about my struggle.
I had a chance to show people depression affects everyone, even those of us with good lives and strong faith.
As I progressed, using my voice meant sharing some of the recovery tips I had learned with close friends and family. The stronger I became, it transitioned into writing my story. I started to share all I learned in my recovery at Libero Magazine.
For others I have met in my journey, it meant sharing their passions for art, God, music, beauty, athletics, and many other things. In doing so, they found their voice by telling stories of finding the things that make life beautiful, even in the midst of their pain.
I encourage you to recognize you have a voice, and I encourage you to throw off any preconceptions about what finding your voice has to look like.
Don’t allow depression to tell you that you’re incapable of making a difference.
Only recognize that using your voice may look different in the midst of depression than it will later on in recovery. Do not feel like you have to project it in a flashy way to the whole world. Using it in a conversation with one person is enough to make a difference!
How can you get started finding your voice? Take a look at your gifts and passions. Do you like to write? Do you like to speak, or to draw, or to play sports, or to write music? Talk to those around you if you need help finding a way you might be able to find your voice, and then share your voice in a way that works for you!
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