Share Your Truth So Others Can Share Theirs
By: Allison Kugel
“You have been assigned this mountain so that you can show others it can be moved.” – Mel Robbins
Some of you may have read a recent article that ran in South Bay’s Neighbor titled, My Journey with Anxiety, written by yours truly. The article was an essay that featured an excerpt of my book, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a Life Unhinged and on the Record. In the article, I chronicle a time in my life, during the summer of 2012, when I suffered from especially severe bouts of anxiety and panic attacks. Since touring with my book, doing press and speaking engagements, I transformed into an advocate for mental health as I learned some of the statistics surrounding anxiety disorders.
For example, I was shocked to learn that 40 million Americans have experienced (or will experience) some form of anxiety disorder in their lifetime. My initial shock at that statistic was largely due to the fact that for so many years I had felt alone with this disorder, and I carried some degree of shame. After my book was released, I became fearless about sharing my experiences with anxiety and panic. Once I put my story out into the world, the shame and embarrassment seemed to dissolve as if by magic.
I eventually healed from that acute bout of anxiety through a series of shifts I made in my life, including: talk therapy, spiritual studies, writing, speaking, dietary changes, and so forth. We all need to be physically, emotionally and spiritually fortified in order to become and stay healthy. That includes our mental health.
As I revealed my truth to friends, acquaintances, family members and countless strangers, the most amazing thing happened. People began to direct message me on social media, call or email me to thank me for sharing my story. They also confessed their own experience with anxiety, phobias, depression and panic attacks. It made me glad to know that my book and my story helped people, but I never could have imagined that people I thought I knew were telling me these stories. You really never know what someone is going through in their inner world.
After my article, My Journey with Anxiety ran in South Bay’s Neighbor (for some of you, it may be in this issue you are holding in your hands) one by one, a few co-workers came over to my desk, and as if to say, “This is just between you and me, because you get it,” shared their own experiences with severe anxiety and panic attacks.
What I have come to realize is that by sharing my truth, I gave permission for others to share theirs. The unspoken conspiracy of silence is then broken. People feel safe to share their most intimate and sometimes painful life experiences with you when they see that you have shared your own.
When you share your truth, you give, both, yourself and others such a wonderful gift. You not only liberate yourself; you liberate other people to feel safe sharing their truth.