Artwork by Catina Jane Gray
Words by Maria C.
“Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave…
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is…
And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?”
-SARA BAREILLES, “Brave”
Mmmmmm, I LOVE these lyrics. Normally, I’m not a Sara Bareilles fan, but I can’t resist these words.
I remember my fiancé thinking this was another angry woman singing about the scorn of a love went wrong, and I had to explain to him that this song wasn’t about anger at all. This song is motivation to speak your truth. I have finally developed the mentality that I’m going to say what I want and be who I am without fearing the judgment of others, and there is so much freedom in that. I remember when I first started going to therapy 8 years ago and was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was scared to tell people, even my closest friends. I felt the enormity of the stigma that I believed existed. It felt heavy, and I felt like I couldn’t turn to anyone. Man, have I come a long way since then. Now I spout my condition as though it is a badge of honor. I had fought a war within myself when I was at my lowest point and came out victorious, and I continue to fight battles on a daily basis. I’m proud not to be ashamed of it anymore, and I am VERY open about what I deal with, that I’m on medication for it, that I’ve sought treatment and continue to do so, and that I find self-care to be an utmost priority.
I’ve realized that the more open I am about my mood disorders, the more I discover that others endure or have endured similar issues. I’ve realized that the more open I am, the less I care about what others think, and that gives me even further freedom to be myself. I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I couldn’t give a shit about what others think; I’m going to be honest with myself and others. The more I share, the more I’ve found that others share as well. The stigma I so feared I feel doesn’t even exist anymore. For me, personally at least, it’s disappeared. For me, I just don’t care if there is a stigma; mood disorders are real, our feelings are real, and we deserve to be validated and take care of ourselves. As far as I’m concerned, if anyone has a problem with my issues, he or she can suck it.
This song, “Brave,” is a poignant reminder that, in order to free ourselves and take care of ourselves properly, we need to speak up. It takes courage to fight, but what good will silence do? Nothing. It will do zero good. Saying what you want to say will do good. It will shed light on your own mind and on others’ minds as well. Honesty allows you to reach for and achieve a healthy state of mind.