Not long after launching this website, the messages and comments started pouring it. All the feedback is extremely positive, and several of you are already expressing gratitude for a community like this. This type of feedback is absolutely amazing and I’m in awe. The one thing I’ve been getting a lot of lately though is, “You’re so brave!” and I wasn’t quite sure
how to take that. It wasn’t until I went on a run to clear my mind (surprise surprise!) that I was able to sort out my feelings regarding this.
I don’t feel very brave. There, I said it. I don’t feel brave talking about my journey with depression and anxiety. I do, however, feel it is necessary. This is something I need to do and I absolutely feel led to help erase the stigma. And just because I don’t feel brave sharing my story, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t brave. I doubt David felt very brave when he took on Goliath, but he was the only one out of the entire Israelite army to volunteer to do so. He was the only one brave enough, among thousands of trained soldiers, to say “Yes, I will accept the challenge”. I don’t mind accepting this challenge of helping erase the stigma by promoting mental health awareness through my story. I need your help, though. From what I’ve gathered in just a few short days of launching this site, there are many of you that have similar stories and experiences. I hope someday you would like to share your stories here, with this new community of running warriors.
Let’s be brave together
When we all share together, we’re taking the stigmatizing narrative that’s been placed upon mental health conditions and we’re replacing it with something more real. It’s unfortunate there is stigma and shame tied to mental health, but that’s the reality. When there’s a great unknown about something, say depression and anxiety, people unfamiliar with it make up their own thoughts about it saying things like buck up, just stop being sad, what’s wrong with you, why do you need medication, are you broken? etc. Being brave and telling our stories gives us the power to flip the script and normalize mental health conditions. How many times have you called into work saying you’re sick when in reality you just feel depressed or anxious? And the reason we do? Sickness like migraines and stomach aches are more easily understood by others than depression or anxiety.
So yes, while running for my own mental health, I was able to sort out all of these thoughts about bravery and mental health. That’s the beauty of running, it does more than just release endorphins, it also gives you inspiration. I hope that on your next run, you’re able to find the brave inside of you. We need you.