Courageous. Heroic. Fearless. Strong. These are the words that come to mind when I hear the word "brave." It brings to mind the soldier serving his country. The police officer/firefighter protecting his community.
It was never a word that I would have used to describe myself or anything that I've done. But then again, I know that bravery can take many forms, not just those who risk their lives for others (although that is pretty fucking important and BRAVE in my book).
Brave. What does it mean, really? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, brave means: "feeling or showing no fear; not afraid." I'm afraid every single day, so surely, I wouldn't be considered brave, right? But the more I think about it, the more I feel like admitting that you are afraid is brave. Admitting that you are vulnerable is brave.
I'm sure I've mentioned a few times that I suspected I have depression - that I've had it probably my whole life. Well, I do. And anxiety as well. I finally was diagnosed this past September. It was really hard for me to accept. I didn't want to know for sure, because then I would have to admit that there was something "wrong" with me. There's that stigma associated with invisible diseases. People say, What's wrong with you? Why don't you cheer up? I don't like it when you're like this. Just smile, it will all be OK. What do you have to be sad about? You're such a downer. Call me when you're in a better mood.
It hurts. It makes you feel like you are less than. That you should always put on a happy face and smile and pretend. But I finally had enough. I reached my breaking point and said, I don't want to feel this way anymore. I need answers and I need a plan.
And I faced my fear and put myself first. Which is a really hard thing for me to do, because there's always that guilt in the background. That I should be focusing on my family and not on myself. That I should be strong and not let my problems get in the way of taking care of others. But finally admitting that I needed help and that I needed to take care of myself, so that I could be a better wife and mother, was a HUGE step for me.
Things are better for me now. They aren't perfect; I still have my ups and downs. But they are better. The burden feels lighter. My heart feels more joy. And I am brave in my own way.
What makes you brave?
P.S. Don't forget to join us on Wednesday, Feb. 18th for Write or Die Wednesdays! The prompt is the photo below. Hope you join us and happy writing!