Mental Health Awareness

May 19, 2020

Hi Beautiful People,

I want to bring insight into how important the month of May is. This month brings awareness to something that is near and dear to my heart: mental health. However, I think this May, with the times we are in, it is more important than ever to bring awareness to mental health illness and break down the stigma associated with it.

Right now we have all been put in isolation that can intensify the loneliness we all feel at times, which in turn can amplify the anxiety and depression that many of us face, I know it has in me. And, because of this, there is one very important phrase to keep in mind during this time: You are NOT Alone!

According to National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health condition in a given year and 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17. This is where you come in! Let’s be the help you wish you had. I have become very open about my mental health in recent years because I wish someone had been open and upfront with me. If they had, I might have overcome my denial that I was depressed and sought the help that I so badly needed.

So, I ask you to do one thing this month: Share your story. Whether it is with someone who wants to hear it or with someone you believe NEEDS to hear it. Everyone deserves to know the feelings they are having are valid and acceptable. Sharing your story will let others know that you have or are currently feeling something similar and they are not alone. If you feel comfortable making your story public, send it to Maryland MENTOR to be featured on our website blog. 

Now, I hear you. You are asking us to share our story, but what is yours?

When I was 19, I lost my father to an opiate overdose. It was sudden and unexpected, and I spiraled. I went into what I call my “dark time”, a depression that lasted over six years. During this time, I lost friends, family, and even myself. The only thing I gained was weight. I did have good moments during these years, and I treasure those bright occasions during my darkest time, but I still feel like I lost my 20’s. I guess that is because I did to an extent. It helped that I had a strong support system, best friends who have been with me since middle school and a boyfriend who had no idea what he was getting himself into. They were all great though and helped me in ways I don’t think they will ever fully understand.

It wasn’t until this past year that I felt like I had done something that was solely for me. If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I was in the right state of mind when I decided to move halfway across the States for an AmeriCorps position. However, I wouldn’t trade this move for the world. This move and position at Maryland MENTOR brought me to a new view on life, amazing friends, a sense of home. I never knew mentoring could be an important part of who I am. Maryland MENTOR opened my eyes to mentoring and now starting in the fall, I will be a mentor! I want to be able to be the person I needed growing up for someone else. That old cliché “There is light at the end of the tunnel” is true after all.

Thank you all for reading and I will leave you with this: Stay Safe, Stay Strong.

Yours in Service,

Maranda