As most of us know, there is a stigma around mental illness. Unfortunately, there will be some people in your life who just don’t understand the struggles that you face, and that’s okay.

However, through my journey with depression, I have learned that it’s far better to be open and to share my story than to keep it to myself.

I have gone through a lot of difficult times with my depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Over the last year, I dealt with suicidal thoughts, isolated myself from friends and family and struggled through the hardest year of my life.

At the end of six months of a severe depressive episode, I began to share my story through social media and writing blog posts. I moved onto submitting my stories to websites like “The Mighty” and “PsychCentral” and they were accepted for publishing.

Not only was it a great outlet for the chaos that was happening in my head at the time, but it was a way for me to express myself and let others know what I had been going through during those months of isolation.

It was also a really great feeling to know that these websites were accepting my writing, and being supportive of sharing my stories with the world.

So I was motivated to keep sharing. I continued to write and this gave me even more of an outlet for my depression and negative thoughts. I had something to work toward, and a newfound sense of accomplishment.

After my first article was published, I had people reaching out to me, letting me know I was not alone. I also had people thanking me for sharing my story and letting them know that they are not alone.

Sharing your story can help others to know they are not alone in what they are going through. It can help others to know that there are other people out there who understand.

Depression can be especially isolating and can trick your brain into thinking you are alone and no one is on your side. Being your own advocate, and being an advocate for others can be rewarding in so many ways.

Share your story. If you don’t want to share with the world, start with your closest friends and family. You may be surprised by how much support you will get. Try to focus on how the outpouring of support you will see, outweighs the negatives.