What am I doing? Yep that is the thought that is swirling in my head today as I begin day one of the #write31days challenge. I have blogged for a month on my blog before but never on one single topic. And the topic that I am choosing to write on for my first time is not an easy topic to talk about either. In fact, for many, they avoid the topic at all costs and turn the other way. And that might be the exact reason I am feeling compelled to write on this topic this year; mental illness and my family’s journey with it.
I am the oldest of two girls and our mom had a nervous breakdown right after my sister was born. (She is three years younger than me). Growing up was not easy because mom’s illness was and still is a huge part of who we are. Mom was in the hospital at least once a year. I don’t remember anything different. But because of the stigma associated with the illness, I kept pretty quiet about Mom’s illness. It wasn’t until I went to work at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp that I finally opened up about Mom’s illness. And let me tell you what a freeing moment that was! There is so much holiness in being able to finally share our story and who I am because of that story with the world! Yet it is also scary….scary to bear my soul and be so vulnerable.
Yet being vulnerable is a gift. I love what Brene Brown says about vulnerability. She writes,
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy–the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
I am not exactly sure where these 31 days will take me…or us! But what I do know is that it is important for me to share my story especially with the death of actor Robin Williams still so fresh in our hearts and minds. Mental illness does not need to have the final word, but rather love; God’s love for all God’s people does! Mom has NEVER let her illness get in the way of who she is. She is one of the most faith-filled women that I know! So for these 31 days, I am choosing to be vulnerable…to be brave; brave enough to share our story; to overcome the darkness and find the infinite power of light found in the midst of my story as a daughter of a woman who daily lives with a mental illness!