I’m not alone…
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to 50+ high school and college women about building a personal brand. Together, we walked through aligning their passion with their brand and practicing their elevator speech so they would be comfortable and confident when walking into the sponsored networking event later that afternoon.
It was a huge success! They did great work and we all left feeling prepared to take on the world (or at least the evening). That, however, was not what moved them the most.
After we completed our time together we had a Q&A session. During that time, I was asked what my greatest challenge was in my life and how I overcame it.
In that moment, I chose to be brave and share my truth with this group of women. I shared my story of struggling with perfectionism and anxiety throughout my life. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always struggled with keeping myself calm and feeling like I am enough as I am. I really struggled when I was in college trying to manage academic challenges and meet the expectations I had for myself by getting involved. I lost a significant amount of weight in my undergraduate education. My appetite vanished when I was stressed. My body wanted food but I couldn’t stomach anything without feeling sick. Stress and anxiety ate me away.
Then, as I entered graduate school, the pressure to be perfect and the pressures of grad school resulted in a small appetite, panic attacks, and severe anxiety. Each day was a challenge. Finally, after a year of struggling through, I went to the doctor and sought real help.
I shared a brief version of this story with the girls on Saturday and the response was amazing. These young women just wanted someone to tell them it was all going to be okay. Later that night I received the following message from one of the girls I met that day.
“I attended the expo today and I just wanted to thank you. You sharing your struggle with mental health made me realize that I’m not alone, and also that I will be okay and that I really can do anything. Your bravery and dedication is so inspiring to me. Thank you so much.”
This message is why I started Brave Like Me. This is why we need to talk about mental health. No one should feel like they’re going through a struggle alone. It’s up to us to start the conversation. If you’re struggling, please know you’re not alone. Asking for help is brave, accepting help will change your life.
We can all do something to support the many girls, boys, men, and women struggling with mental health. Listen, talk, support, and ask questions. You can change a life.