In June 2017, we launched our new campaign, Painfully Brave. This is a term we created to describe a person who has decided to keep moving forward despite their pain. The purpose of this campaign was to showcase stories of hope, determination. Click “read more” to view their submissions.
“Ever since I was a young girl I have suffered from depression, anxiety, severe mood swings, self-harm, violent behavior, and impulsiveness. I was in and out of mental hospitals most of my teen years. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar, then it became Borderline Personality Disorder and then Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was added to the list. I have suffered in silence and at the top of my lungs. I almost lost everything and everyone I love on many occasions. And through it all I was brave. Brave to keep going no matter what. I am brave.
TW: suicide & molest mention. “I was molested by a family friend from age 12-14. He moved out of state and I struggled for years with depression, suicidal thoughts, and unstable relationships. I had this misconception about love by thinking loving someone also meant hurting them. So I allowed toxic people to hurt me over and over again because I thought that’s what love was. I ended up being hospitalized after a failed suicide attempt and was diagnosed with BPD. With help from medication, close friends, and family, I was able to recover to a place where I’m content with my life. Now 25, I’m working as a medic to help others who are hurting, and I no longer tolerate toxic people.”
“I bought this flower when I was feeling extremely down at the beginning of the year. Anxiety would keep me awake all night, eyes opened. Depression would keep me in bed all day, curtains closed. My thoughts were growing darker and darker. I don’t remember why but I decided to get a plant and I ended up with a beautiful orchid. The florist told me that “she” needed a lot of light, and to be frank, so did I. My curtains have been opened ever since, for the both of us. It might seem very trivial but this little flower helped me bring back some light into my life, literally. It’s not an awesome story, I’m still struggling every day but recovery takes time. Baby steps for some of us, and it’s ok.”
“I am painfully brave. I come from a long line of women who have survived severe abuse at the hands of family and lovers; a line of women and children with trauma encoded on their genes, and mental illnesses abound in my gene pool. I myself have survived sexual abuse, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and after a lifetime of struggle was diagnosed with Bipolar II only two years ago, at 30yrs old. I have survived through the deepest depressions, the hypomanic anger, and glee. I have carried on even when I am longing for it all to end. I face each day, whether good or the abyss. I am brave. I am painfully brave. And I am here.”
“When I was 10 my uncle on my biological dad’s side of the family began sexually abusing me. This happened dozens of times over almost four years. When I moved away from my group of friends to a different city, I began to change. I was depressed, had extremely low self-esteem and truly delved into self-injury after only doing it experimentally when I was younger. After years of hurting myself and being diagnosed with BPD-I finally tried to end my life-but I lived and after even more time hating myself-at the age of 24, I am at a position where I work full-time, do not self-injure and fight against the stigma of mental illness. I survived and forgave myself for the self-destructive behavior over the last decade.”
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this campaign! We hope that their stories have inspired you to keep going, despite your struggle. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for future campaigns just like this one!