The worst day of my life up to this point was in 2007 when I met the doctors in an emergency department; the doctors looked at me as if they saw a ghost and I wished I was a ghost. I made a serious attempt to end my life and I was devastated about my lack of success because it forced me out of the closet I was living in with my mental health challenges. I felt paralyzed with shame, doubt and vulnerability. I had to face some hard facts with friends and family, but most challenging of all was how this event forced me to face myself.
Up to that point, it was easier for me to see myself, and allow others to see me, as a run of the mill messed up chick. I preferred that people thought of me as promiscuous as opposed to know how many times I’d been assaulted. I was also okay with people calling me a “self-harmer” because I had no clue what they would think if they knew I was letting a friend slice my arms. And, it was better for people to assume I dropped out of school in grade 9 because I didn’t care about my grades than for them to see how much I suffered from witnessing the bullying and backstabbing behaviours.
Coming out with the truth hurt so much; it hurt me and it hurt my closest friends and family. I always had an inclination about how much the truth would hurt which is why I covered it up for so long. And, I know you can relate. I think every human being on this earth can relate to the pain of covering up.
I’ve been paying attention to what happens when I cover up. I start disconnecting, closing off, or set unclear boundaries with myself and others. I become off balance in my mind/body and spirit. So, my saving grace these days has been to connect, to open-up, and clarify boundaries which helps me stabilize when life waves arise.
I think many of us cover up because we think we should be perfect, and it’s not about being perfect, in fact my stress levels peak when I strive for perfection. It’s about allowing myself to be perfectly imperfect. I use my personal challenges as assets and live to role model so others can do the same. Each of us has a unique colour and when we share our colours, it gives permission to others to share their colours, which brightens up our world.
This blog post was written by Amber McAuley. Catch Amber at momondays Guelph, ON on 07/24/2017! Get your advance tickets here: Buy Tickets
Amber is a successful mental health & wellness professional with experience teaching, developing workshops & client counselling. She is a youth counselor who has extensive training in mindfulness and offers in person and online services for individuals, as well as, those working in the education and health care systems. For more about Amber, visit http://coachambermcauley.com/.