It's scary to put one’s story out there. To really put it out there. When a blog post goes up, it feels as though it’s a drop in the bucket in the sea of personal opinions that comprise the world wide web.
But, I shared my story in a book that came out in March of this year titled Lemonade Stand, Volume 2. It’s a short essay of about 1000 words. But it’s a good summary on how I went from a depressed individual to someone who now helps others through my speaking and writing about mental health. And now it’s out there and it’s permanent in print. People I don't know will be able to hold my writing, put it on their bedside table, and have it on hand for years to come. The spine of the book will stare at them from their shelf.
The editor of the book, Josh Rivedal, approached me in 2018. I reached out to him earlier in the year asking about guidance for getting into the mental health speaking realm. We corresponded and spoke on the phone and he gave me some good tips and explained how he broke into the field.
I wrote my essay and went back and forth with some edits with Josh before finally getting the content settled. I also wrote a short bio. Then I forgot about the book, or at least put it in the back of my mind, as it was going to be many months until it came out.
Then, in February of this year, it arrived in the mail. I read what I wrote. It was months since I had seen it. I was happy with how it turned out and how well I felt it expressed my experiences. I read the other writers' stories. Like me, they all took experiences that some might say were bad or difficult and turned them around. I found many to be inspiring. I hoped my tale did the same.
I reached out to my hometown newspaper and got an article written about me and the book. I never thought I’d have an article about myself printed in the paper in whose pages I read comics as a kid. Now people in my past were going to know about my experiences with mental health and depression and being in a hospital for attempting to take my life. It’s daunting to put out your faults and failures for all to look at, especially those who know you from your past.
So why did I do this? I believe in my message. I believe things can get better for people. And I know the best way to help others is to share my own message.
Truth and honesty are some of the most important values in my life. Being authentic with others in the hope I can help them is something I admire. So it’s something I’ve sought to do.
As I wrote at the beginning—it’s scary to do this. But I know that it will help others. I know it has helped others. If you’re reading this, know that you don’t have to be a mental health advocate and become a full-time speaker to make a difference in the lives of others. You can start in a simple way—be honest and true with those around you. What would that look like? How can you use your experiences with mental health or loneliness or any other issue that gives you difficulty and use that to help others?
Like what you read? Want to have Kurt come talk to your group about belonging, loneliness, and mental health? Click here to contact him about speaking at your event.
This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.