It’s time to break the mental health stigma and start talking about your elephant.

Last night, as I was cuddling with my daughter Teya in her bed, my mind was racing with all things I had to do. Life as I knew it drastically changed after the launch of the website.  My daughter was excitedly telling me about her third day in Kindergarten. I heard something about a new friend and remembering her water bottle. I was so frustrated because all I wanted to do was connect with her but all I kept thinking about was the hundreds of people I had to get back to. I kept asking myself, “Where do I start? What do I do next?” The marketing person in me wants it all to be perfect. I remembered the 250+ blogs that I already have written and I was wracking my brain as to what to share first. I have learned so many things on my journey that picking just one is almost impossible. Suddenly, my daughter says to me, “Mom there is an elephant in my room.” And that’s where I decided to start!

You see, there is this thing called depression: everybody knows about it but no one talks about. There are also things called anxiety/OCD, ADHD, stress, and addiction. Everyone knows what these are because they either have them or know someone that does. It is absolutely fascinating to me that no one talks about it, especially because more than 20 million people in our country are depressed! Not only that, anti-depressant usage is up 400% – WHAT?! There is a big, giant elephant in the room. It is so huge but somehow everyone manages to squeeze by it.

This is the picture that hangs above my daughter’s bed. I saw it in the store and said, “I just have to have it”. Something drew me in and now I love it even more after talking to Teya. I asked her to tell me about the elephant in her room and this is what she said, “Well, he looks kind of sad. I think it is because he lost his colors.

Elephant who lost his colors

Elephant in the room

My mentor, coach, and former therapist asked me to write something about how the unveiling of my website went and how it feels to be aligned with my purpose so she could share with our certification group. I am filled with so many emotions. I used to think it was weird when people on American Idol cry when they win. I don’t think it is weird anymore because I feel like I too have won – I won at life. The tears I have shed are complete tears of joy as it is utterly amazing to finally be using each and every one of my gifts and talents. And I mean each and every one! I feel liberated, invigorated, and alive!

I would be lying, however, if I said it doesn’t have a downside. When I opened up to the world, I let in a reality that I was not ready for. A reality that is truly heart-breaking and weighs heavily on my mind now. A reality that robbed me of precious connection time with my family. Because now as I sit and have a conversation about Kindergarten I am interrupted with thoughts of the hundreds and hundreds of sad elephants who have contacted me looking for their colors.

I am going to give you some numbers. In one day, 250 people have downloaded my free book. 1,200 people have watched the video about my life. 650 people have liked the Facebook page and I have received over 100 personal messages and emails. People want to know where to start and I will make it really SIMPLE – you start by talking about that big, giant elephant in the room.

I challenge you today to talk about your elephant. When someone asks you how you are doing, you say “You know what, I am feeling stuck or anxious, or tired, or sad. How about you?” Because when you say “fine” you are actually saying, “I’m not fine,” without talking about the elephant. Today a woman hugged me in relief and said, “Thank you for being the voice for those of us who aren’t strong enough.”  I replied, “I will be your voice until you are ready. But it is now up to you to find it.” I opened up something I cannot close anymore, as I truly feel God is using me as He sees fit. So to answer the question of how things went and what it feels like to be aligned with my Purpose, I will answer with this quote someone once shared with me: “If your path is more difficult, it is because your calling is higher.” It’s time to simply answer the call.