Writing for stigma fighters came just as I was reaching a real turning point in my life. I had just re-entered the workforce after spending the better part of a year in my bedroom. I had finally gotten up the courage to see a psychologist. I had cut the ties of a horribly toxic friendship. I had been reconnecting with my oldest and closest friends, who welcomed me back with open arms. I was remember what it was like to live. To be worth something. To feel like I was worth something, because I always had been.
And so, with this new lease on life I decided I wanted to find somewhere I could talk about what I was going through and what I had been through, without the judgement or the constant fear that I was going to suffer a mass Facebook unfriending. So, I took to twitter and created the account @ladyofanxiety; place where I could share my thoughts and feelings anonymously. I was shocked to find so many like minded in the Twittersphere, one of who was Sarah Fader, founder of Stigma Fighters.
Sarah reached out to me about writing for this website she had put together, it was a collection of stories from people around the world struggling with mental illness. I said sure why not, I love writing and no one I know would ever have to see it. So I wrote my piece and sent it off. Once it was published I logged on to Stigma Fighters and I saw it there, my story and feelings in black and white – and I was proud of it. So I shared it Facebook.
I expected the condescending ‘you hang in there chief’ and the obligatory like or two, but what I got was an influx of encouragement and likes. People were sharing it, my story, and using words like “brave” and “inspiring” [who? me?!]. My inbox was flooded with messages from people who were also struggling saying “thank you”, now they didn’t feel so alone.
I literally cannot describe in words what an amazing and liberating experience it was.
I was free.
Months later Sarah Fader and Allie Burke set out to start Stigma Fighters franchises in different places around the world, there was a call out for expressions of interest from people living in those countries who wanted to be a part of this project. I thought about doing it, but that little voice inside my head that tells me I am not good enough, told me not to bother.
Then, out of the blue, Sarah sent me a message on FB to introduce me to Helen White, the content manager for Stigma Fighters Down Under. I remember thinking “well that was random” . Helen and I got to talking about the Stigma Fighters Down Under franchise and I was really overenthusiastic I couldn’t contain my excitement! After few days of chatting, Helen suggested I come on board as a co-content manager, I was shocked, but so excited! And, even more surprising, Allie and Sarah seemed to think it was a good idea!
So here I am, working with one of the best ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing, doing what I love. Gen Y and Gen X and YOU!
A lady with Anxiety. I come from a land down under. I love talking, writing, laughing and listening. I love show tunes and dancing. I am a crazy cat lady, and the youngest old person you will ever meet.
Sara lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia