The last 31 days have changed my life indefinitely.
I knew when I started this project that it had the potential to change other people’s lives but never did I take into consideration how much it could or would change my own.
#dontcallmecrazy has educated me far beyond what any internet search engine could.
This project has put 31 different faces to varying mental illnesses that I would have otherwise never seen. It has given 31 different voices an outlet to be heard. It has brought together people from different countries, ethnicities, genders, religions, political affiliations, and social class to show that mental illness does not discriminate nor has any barrier it will not shatter. It has given people a safe place to share their story and not be judged, ridiculed, disregarded, or ignored.
I have been thanked countless times for creating this project and for spreading awareness but I feel like it is me that should be thankful. For someone to share their deepest, darkest experiences and moments in their life and trust me enough to share their story is incredibly humbling, and I feel honored to have been able to do so.
When the project launched I had it in my mind that once the month was over and Mental Health Awareness Month came to a close, the project would too. My initial idea was to honor Mental Health Awareness Month with the testimonies and depending on how it went, come back next year bigger and better.
However now that the month is over, I know without doubt, I can not - I will not - do that.
Stopping #dontcallmecrazy now or discontinuing it for another 12 months would be a complete dishonor to the 30 voices I had the pleasure of listening to all month.
Mental health suffers don't get a break in their suffering. They don't get to experience symptoms whenever it's most convenient for them or when they have the most time to manage them. Mental health sufferers can't go on an 11 month break from the illnesses that plague them and then reemerge during the one month allotted to them to be seen, heard, understood, respected, and accepted by the society they - WE - have to live in.
Mental health sufferers deserve more than 31 days.
Mental health sufferers deserve 365 days. Just like cancer patients, just like heart disease patients, just like diabetes patients, just like non-sufferers, just like humans.
And I will do everything in my power to give it them, to give it to US.
If we are to be in these trenches, then we are to be in them together, hand in hand, step by step.
Now, I have no limit as to where I will take #dontcallmecrazy and that is solely because of the 30 individuals that had no limit when it came to sharing their stories. Bravery like they exhibited deserves to be honored and it is my new life mission that they, and every other sufferer on this planet, get to feel the power and depth we were able to exchange with each other over the last month.
To William, Stephanie, Gursimar, Hannah, Mom, Harshi, Val, Anja, Ruben, Danielle, Lauren, Meg, Britt, Maquebeo, Crystal, Krystle, Noelle, Amy, Jenn, Dani, Christine, Kristin, Erryn, Michael, Porshe, Elle, Courtney, and both of the anonymous submitters - thank you. Thank you for participating in this project. Thank you for being so brave to share your story. Thank you for trusting me to share it. Thank you for being a voice for someone who may be unsure, scared, ashamed, or embarrassed to use their own. Because of your strength and willingness to be open about your illness, they now have you to use as an example that they too can do the same. What you’ve done this month has changed more lives than you are probably aware of and I hope you know just how important, admirable, and beautiful that is. So many people go through life never making a difference in the world. You are not one of them. I will never forget this first year and the first 30 voices to ever believe in my project. Forever will you be my heart.
If you missed any of the testimonies or you want to check out specific testimonies written by sufferers of an illness you may be suffering from, below is the complete listing.
- Day 1: William - bipolar 2
- Day 2: Stephanie - PPD, bipolar, anxiety
- Day 3: Gursimar - depression, anxiety
- Day 4: Hannah - anxiety
- Day 5: + a testimony written by my mom from the perspective of having a child that sufferers from anxiety +
- Day 6: Harshi - depression
- Day 7: Val - depression, anxiety
- Day 8: Anja - BPD, ADD, ADHD
- Day 9: Ruben - bipolar
- Day 10: Danielle - depression, anxiety, OCD
- Day 11: Lauren - depression, anxiety, anorexia, BDD
- Day 12: + a testimony written by Meg on the perspective of being in a 7 year relationship with a sufferer of bipolar 1 +
- Day 13: Britt - social anxiety
- Day 14: Breanne - bipolar 2, BPD
- Day 15: Maquebeo - anxiety
- Day 16: Crystal - anxiety, rumination OCD
- Day 17: Krystle - anxiety, depression, bipolar 2, PTSD, PPD, BPD + video +
- Day 18: Anonymous - PTSD, self mutilation
- Day 19: Noelle - anxiety
- Day 20: Amy - anxiety, + includes an interview discussing what it's like being a sufferer & a psychologist +
- Day 21: Jenn - depression, anxiety
- Day 22: Dani - bipolar 1, anxiety, PTSD
- Day 23: Christine - BPD
- Day 24: + a testimony written by Kristin from the perspective of having a mother that suffered from schizophrenia +
- Day 25: Erryn - seasonal depression
- Day 26: Michael - depression
- Day 27: Porshe - anxiety
- Day 28: + a testimony written by Elle from the perspective of a psychologist +
- Day 29: Anonymous - depression
- Day 30: Courtney - social anxiety, MDD
- Day 31 - Eleven - anxiety
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