I have always been a very quiet person. As far back as I can remember, teachers have told me I had to speak up more, but it was always very difficult for me to speak at a volume that people could hear.
During a particularly horrible period of my depression, my silence grew worse, and I lost my voice.
I remember sitting in my classes, feeling trapped inside my body and completely unable to talk. I remember several therapy sessions where I would have to have a whole conversation by writing on paper, unable to say even the simple words “I feel sad.”
I have lived with silence in more ways than one.
I have also lived with the silence and shame that stigma brings. For so long, I was scared to let anyone know that I was struggling. The first time that I was hospitalized for my depression, I told my roommates that I had the flu.
This year I joined a club, Active Minds, which works to reduce stigma and raise awareness of mental illness. But I realized, how can I raise awareness and reduce stigma while being silent about my own experience? So I will say it: I have struggled with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harm, and I continue to struggle every day.
But these days the silence rarely takes over me, and I am also free from the silence of stigma.
I am capable of having a voice, and I am worthy of having a voice.
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Originally published September 6, 2013 on our old Tumblr blog