In a world where people are more connected to each other than ever before, a new type of isolation is emerging. The loneliness of mental illness. Although we can see both friends and strangers lives on often very intimate levels through dozens of social media channels, there is one thing that we can never view or know about each other.
The battles that go on in our minds.
According to CMHA National, by age 40 about 50% of the population will have or have had some type of struggle with mental illness. Yet the stigma surrounding it remains – which leaves those suffering feeling isolated, lonely and rejected. Many people even say that how others view them is one of the greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life.
When Kelsey first experienced the overwhelmingly debilitating symptoms of a severe panic attack, he immediately felt the dark isolation that came with it. It was only when he made the decision to openly share what he was going through that he began to realize how powerful that choice was.
I realized sharing my story gave others the freedom to share theirs without shame. I began to understand there was liberty in knowing I was not alone in my struggle. I had a story to tell and it was part of a bigger story; a bigger struggle- the struggle to connect, relate, empathize and overcome. There was healing in banding together as a community by being open, honest and vulnerable with each other. I recognized holding shame in my circumstance and hiding in isolation within my struggle was the biggest hindrance to my healing.
Although Kelsey had a large support network to empathize with his struggles, he quickly recognized how significantly more difficult it would have been to cope with his symptoms if that network were non-existent.
Out of this experience I felt the need to form a community where shame and isolation were replaced by vulnerability, openness, acceptance, empathy and encouragement. Band Together was formed with the mission to create and cultivate a community of solidarity and support to those who are on the journey to pursuing healing in mental, emotional and physical health.
Those who struggle with mental illness need daily reminders that they are not alone in their battle. We need to be continually connecting with others who understand what a day in our life is like. We need to know that others feel what we feel and experience what we experience.
And ultimately, we all need a place to share our story without judgement.
The Band Together Community creates a space for people to share their story anonymously and read the stories of others, become involved in one of our community forums and wear a Band Together bracelet that represents not just their own journey towards mental health, but that they are a part of a community that is standing in solidarity for one another.
We hope you will find a place to belong with the Band Together Community, and take the opportunity to start your own healing journey by sharing your story and wearing your story.