Some of us may think that an act of bravery consists of a heroic display. For some, bravery presents itself when a person puts their life on the line to save another or to promote a cause. For others it consists of a grand gesture which is publicised on social media receiving 1000 likes on Facebook and one hundred re-tweets on Twitter. But more often than not, you can find bravery in the simplest of things. It can introduce itself in subtler and yet more powerful ways, which differ from grand displays.
A lot of us may not realise it, but for some, being brave is simply waking up every morning and telling themselves to get out of bed. To repeat a mantra in their heads or to swallow the medication they were given and pray that on that day it may work. For some people, their kind of brave is choosing to carry on with their day even when they feel like they just want to curl up in bed. It’s finding the strength to convince themselves that they are not worthless or ugly, crazy or undeserving of good things.
Bravery consists of two main qualities, namely endurance and courage. Both of these qualities are equally important and need to co-exist. Bravery requires endurance because it requires persistence and perseverance. It also requires courage because that is what enables you to take action.
Bravery means many different things in different situations.
Any mental health illness ranging from depression and anxiety to low self-esteem can make the simplest of tasks feel like the hardest thing to do. It can isolate a person and make the idea of an ordinary day seem like a luxury.
To be brave, we need to understand its opponent – fear. Fear is cruel. It can paralyse us. Many don’t want to familiarise themselves with their enemies but it is important to become acquainted with your enemy, and it is infinitely beneficial to understand it.
We all have fears that can feel inescapable, the fear felt when dealing with mental illnesses can be one of the worst. We need to understand that fear is a part of life and that is exactly why bravery is of the utmost necessity.
People often lose sight of the fact that what is quite possibly the bravest thing of all is fighting your fears and facing something which scares you. We draw inspiration from super stars, politicians or some other high profile A-lister when really we should draw inspiration from each other and in doing so, support each other.
Bravery also finds itself in those who channel the strength to stand by someone suffering from mental illness and support them no matter how hard things get. It’s about realising that your support and strength is equally as important as the strength you encourage that person suffering from mental illness to have.
Witnessing someone feel like their world is falling apart is hard. It can make you feel helpless. Like nothing you do is right. Sometimes it makes you feel like you may be the cause to that person’s suffering. It is not easy. But we have to realise that it is about having the strength to listen to what that person is saying and respecting what they want and remaining by their side whilst being supportive. It is important to be brave and to BE A TEAM no matter how hard it is to witness someone suffering from something that is not physical or even visible to the naked eye.
So whether you are someone who is suffering from mental illness or someone who is supporting a loved one suffering from mental illness, be brave. Don’t give up. Endure the hard times and have courage to fight, whether that be by reaching out to a loved one, speaking to someone, seeking medical help or simply calling GibSams to have a chat and vent.
And to those who suffer from a battle within, we commend you for your bravery every single day. You are truly inspiring.
You are not a loser because you are battling with yourself. You are not worthless. You are not helpless just because you can’t find a physical antidote. Don’t let those thoughts in your mind take over.
The Kili Crew.