Today, I came across a Canadian movement that’s called “Bell Let’s talk,” in which the country tries to end the stigma of mental illness. Not only do I support this movement but I hope that this message reaches across the world because mental health affects every single human being. And it’s time for everyone to take it seriously.

I’m an advocate for mental health and I want to share a little of my story by describing what I see in this picture. To everybody else, it’s a side by side of the same girl but one might look older, and the other, a little younger. Not much of a difference, right?

Wrong. When I look at the picture on the right, it brings me back. Back to the lowest point in my life where I struggled with the decision if it was better to live…or not. It brings me back to the suffering I endured daily, the battle in my mind I just could not win, the constant self-loathing that broke a small piece of me every chance it got. It brings me back to the darkness I couldn’t hide from.

I was swinging my fists, trying to fight off the demon that had me captured… until I realized the real enemy was me. The picture gives me a flashback of all the nights I spent crying, wondering if this was all I was good for. Wondering if I even deserved to be happy. The girl on the right was a vulnerable, hopeless little girl who struggled to believe life could be so different. That she could be different.

And then in 2017, she’s transformed herself into the woman on the left. Six years of torment that really began in 2006, went on until 2012 with an additional 5 years of just trying to start a new life, pushing and learning along the way.

I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.

Anais Nin

The woman on the left is triumphant, worthy and valiant. She is able and she is beautiful. She’s accepted the struggles but never defeat. People do not have control over her anymore. Her mind does not control her anymore. She has power that she intends to instill in those around her. To make them believe if she could do it, so can they.

I am no longer a slave to my depression. I may have my days, I may have my weak moments but that does not make me weak. It does not make me regress and it does not make me a failure. I have proven, to MYSELF, that I can get through anything that life may throw at me.

I may have my weak moments but that does not make me weak.

Because I have God, I have my family, I have my closest friends, and most importantly, I have myself. I am not my own enemy anymore. Once you realize who it is you truly have to fight against, the battle becomes clearer. Anyone who makes you feel like what you’re going through is just a phase, as if it’s not a big deal, or if it’s uncalled for, look for help elsewhere.

Speaking out and telling your story is exactly how we’re going to get people to finally understand that this is real, it’s hurting the lives of people and their loved ones and it needs to be taken seriously. Don’t be afraid to speak up, cause you’ll know one person will definitely be right beside you, ready to do the same.