As I browse through my social media feeds I come across another high profile sports star speaking out about their mental health conditions and subsequent battles.
A further quick browse and I find a celebrity telling the world about how they have hidden their battles with mental illness, addiction and substance abuse.
Both are tragic but inspiring at the same time. What is about a high profile person talking about their problems that makes for such good reading? It makes them just that bit more human, more like an ordinary person. Just like the rest of us!
The coverage of these people and their stories is nothing short of amazing. Thousands of views on-line, hundreds of shares and positive comments on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Don’t get me wrong this article is not about my green-eyed monster coming out. I am all for anything that anyone can do to raise the awareness of mental illness and the struggles in our world today.
But as I watch the professional video’s, look at the well crafted business pages and websites I start to think, what about the ordinary everyday person, where is their story? How come it is not getting the same exposure? Is it less important than that of a professional sports person or celebrity?’
Now before you think I have missed the blatantly obvious, I haven’t. I know the high profile sports player or celebrity are simply able to leverage their popularity to get their message out to a lot more people. Kudos to them I say, well done, keep it coming.
But I still find myself asking, what about the everyday person. The person that shops at Lowes, lives from pay-to-pay and works two part-time jobs waiting tables just to buy shoes for their kids to go to school.
The person that waits until sale time at Target or K-Mart to lay-by all of their kids Xmas presents so they can pay them off over the next 6 – 8 months.
Where is that person’s story? Where is their video or article about their battles with mental illness, domestic violence, addiction or substance abuse? Is it it any less important, was their struggle any less real? No of course not.
But we generally just don’t to see it or read about it unless we go searching.
Recently I was invited to a new community event on the Sunshine Coast called ‘Stories of Hope’ hosted by ‘Empower Life Solutions’. Having been to a few networking type events over the last year I was a bit hesitant at first.
Don’t get me wrong networking events are great and have their purpose, but it is hard to really get to know people at an organic level at these type of events.
But you know when you stumble across something special. Something special, is an event where you get to see normal everyday people talking openly about some of the hardest times in their lives, and what they did to get through them.
No celebrities, sports stars, hidden agendas or sales pitches, just everyday normal people with the courage to open their heart and talk about their struggles, tragedies and triumphs.
As I looked around the room there was an eerie silence as I watched the crowd listen to the courageous person telling their story. I noticed the nod of heads from people as they identified within themselves with certain parts of the story being told.
So what is the end goal of this type of event? It’s simple!
By everyday people talking about their journeys, struggles and how they got through them, we might just make it easier for someone else going through the same hardship.
These are the stories we need to see and hear about, just as much as the stories from celebrities and sports stars.
So don’t ever think that someone else’s story is any more worthy of telling than yours, simply because of their social status or standing.
We all have a story to tell, what is yours?
Stuart Rawlins | Healthy Mind Healthy Future
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