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May 31, 2019

On the Outside, I had it All: how I Found the Courage to Share my Mental Health Story. ~ Hannah Blum

 

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Writing and creativity have been my outlet for expressing my thoughts and emotions since I was a child.

I’ve always felt extreme emotions, perceiving the world with deep empathy and imagination. It was not until society came knocking on my door and labeled those parts of me as wrong that self-abuse became a daily habit.

On the outside, I appeared to have it all, but internally, I felt I had nothing at all.

It was not until junior year of high school that the symptoms of the bipolar disorder began to consume me. I felt disconnected from my reflection, but I maintained the identity and image that others expected of me—an athlete, popular, on student council, and nominated for prom queen—people had no idea that I was struggling internally. But pretending to be okay when you are not doesn’t prevent pain, it only increases it.

In my sophomore year of college, I had a mental breakdown and was involuntarily placed in a mental hospital. What I thought was the end was only the beginning, a part of my journey that revealed my truth and the truth of others who I’ve met along the way.

Years after the mental hospital, while on route to graduate from North Carolina State University with my degree in Media Communication, I began to explore mental health advocacy.

It was then that I realized I could combine media and mental health by creating content and sharing it across social media platforms and online. Revealing my diagnosis of bipolar disorder was a risk and frowned upon by the majority of people, but my purpose in life outweighed the opinion of others.

In 2016, I published my blog Halfway2Hannah, a platform discussing a variety of topics under the mental health umbrella.
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My emotions and way of thinking contribute to both my pain and power, which is something I take pride in. I hope the same for others. Self-acceptance gave me the ability to stand up for myself and demand treatment that allowed me to live instead of merely existing in this world.

Social media, specifically Instagram, has become a platform for me to share my words and message in hopes to inspire the world around me. I want those who live with and without a mental illness to embrace the parts of themselves that make them different. I want them to feel empowered by their broken, and redefine it as beautiful.

We live in a society that is continually trying to fix us, but that only leads to more shame. We do not need to be fixed; we are beautiful as we are. Self-love leads to people opening up about their struggles and getting the help they deserve.

You are not alone. Your voice is important. Your story matters. Do not let judgment stop you from living the life you deserve.

We are in this together.
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Hannah Blum

author: Hannah Blum

Image: Author's own

Editor: Naomi Boshari

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