Why sharing really is caring – a post about mental health
with Alyssa Kerbel, Founder of mini mioche
Last year on Bell Let’s Talk Day, I shared a post on my personal Instagram account about my own struggles with my mental health, which go back to my teenage years, when I developed an eating disorder which I struggled with for many years. I had never really shared openly about my mental health journey and at the time that I posted, I still didn’t feel comfortable sharing it more widely (i.e. with the whole mini mioche community). There was still a big part of me that felt like I was supposed to be this strong, pulled-together, invincible leader and worried about the judgements and thoughts of others. In short, I let my fear stop me from sharing my truth.
However, I’ve realized that something significant has shifted for me over the past year. Because of what I shared and how I shared it, I started to have conversations with friends, family, colleagues, fellow leaders and entrepreneurs (and even total strangers) that were deeper, more vulnerable, more raw and more real than I’d ever had before. I realized that by sharing my own story and experience, it created a safe space and gave permission for others to share theirs, knowing I would have compassion and empathy for whatever they were going through. It made me realize that sharing really is caring – in the most beautiful, kind way and that I wanted to do more of it.
The truth and reality that I've come to understand is that to varying degrees, we're all struggling. We all suffer, we all have pain, we all battle constantly with our own thoughts, emotions, judgements and self-criticism. We're all bombarded with messages about who we should be and how we don’t measure up (from a younger and younger age). And for the most part, I think we all feel very alone in it. For me, that has always been the hardest part – feeling like I’m the only one. It’s only since I started to share my experience more openly that I’ve come to realize that I’m not alone and that the easiest way to navigate the healing journey is by surrounding ourselves with others who are walking the same path. I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have many people walking hand in hand with me on this journey.
I believe that the true pandemic we are currently facing is one of deep loneliness and isolation – a disconnection from ourselves, from each other, from the planet and from the universe or something much bigger than ourselves. I believe that sharing our truth, our story and our experiences from a place of love and compassion is a real and meaningful way to start that re-connection process. It’s not a one-day thing (although I do think Bell Let’s Talk is a wonderful campaign – and a beautiful way to create awareness and get the conversation started), but it’s up to all of us to keep it going – for ourselves, for each other, for our children and for the world.