"A side of honesty"

One thing I struggled with throughout the years living with depression and anxiety, was being able to trust people. I saw very early on that people could be judgmental and liked to paint with the old stigma brush.

This judgment I felt and sometimes still experience, would prevent me from being honest with people about my illness. A huge trigger for me is not staying true to myself, so as you can imagine this use to cause me quite a lot of distress. In recent times I have come to accept individual's responses what ever that may look like and not let that keep me wrapped in the cape of stigma. 

I decided a few years ago, if I was to have meaningful relationships in my life (I mean life long, feed the soul kind of thing) I needed to always have a "side of honesty". This looked like me telling my friends or family when I was struggling and also meant that I would need to speak openly with them about my illness. Some people were very receptive to this and others seemed to drift away from me. 

One special moment that stands out for me, was when I was travelling. I have a severe phobia of the dark, to the point where I have a night light at my home, my partner's home and also one that I take travelling with me. This particular night in HongKong, after a hectic few weeks away, I was feeling particularly exhausted. This type of fatigue can quite often bring on my night terrors (something I forgot to mention to my friend Ciara). After mucking around with the lighting, night light and tv volume, it was time for bed. I ended up waking Ciara, screaming and pulling on the bed sheets, thinking there were giant spiders in the bed. After freaking Ciara out, I decided that this is the time for complete honesty. I explained my night terror and then the best thing happened. Ciara turned all the lights on, pulled off the sheets to check for spiders, checked under the bed, made sure I was ok, turned the tv back on and said "Doesn't matter that you know the spiders aren't there Stef, I still want to check for you, that way you can get back to sleep". There was no judgment and I realised how lucky I was to have people like Ciara in my life. 

Showing my authentic self, flaws and all, means I can experience special moments with loved ones, not let fear stop me from trying new things and fulfil my need for true connection. 

So, next time you find yourself scared to let someone in, ask yourself for a side of honesty and watch your inner ninja come to life. 

Live, breathe, embrace. 


Tenille Westerhout