Have you ever poured every ounce of your soul into a project only to get torn apart? Did you ever feel proud of yourself for building up the courage to conquer a performance only to wish you hadn't once you read the critic's reviews? Have you ever had your stomach twist and turn and your fingers swell up as you read a column filled with nasty comments about you? If so, this blog is for you.
I had that gut-wrenching, stomach-dropping feeling this month when a five-second video of me singing went viral on Tik Tok for negative reasons. Somebody made one brutally unkind comment, and then it was like a domino effect of hurtful words, each piercing my self-esteem like a dagger to the heart.
The commenter who said I have no talent didn't know about the mental struggles I had been facing that week. The commenter who told me McDonald's was hiring sat behind his/her screen, disregarding that I'm a human and that no matter what they said to me, McDonald's was hiring sat behind his/her screen, disregarding that I'm a human and that no matter what they said to me, I've said worse to myself. The Tik Tok user who told me I should be embarrassed doesn't know the fears I've faced and the tears I've shed along my musical journey.
We are often quick to react, and we get off on pointing out others' flaws. We see a video, a picture, or a piece of art, and we forget that it's also a person. A person with feelings, struggles, fears, anxieties, and a mountain of other internal and external adversities we know nothing about.
As I read mean comment after comment, my emotions went from defeated to hurt to empowered. Empowered to stand up and speak out about bullying.
I thought about Terry Badger, a 13-year-old boy from Indiana who was constantly bullied and eventually took his own life. That happened this year.
mental health, kindness, may is mental health month
I speak out for 14-year-old Adriana Kuch, who killed herself in New Jersey a few months ago.
after enduring physical assault and bullying from her peers.
I speak about mental health and humanity for all the children, teens, and adults who are bullied to their limit. Cyberbullying is at an all-time high, and I often wonder if those who write brutal comments to other human beings would make those comments to their face. Is it easier behind a screen?
Mental Health Awareness Month
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. among kids aged 10-14. Something that often stems from one rude remark. One harsh word. One demeaning conversation.
Think before you type. Think before you speak. Be the first to write a kind comment so the domino effect will be a spiral of positivity, love, and grace.
Today I write about vulnerability. I write about humanity. With May being mental health awareness month, I write to bring awareness. To remind you of something you already know: kindness can save a life.
As an ambassador for N.A.M.I (National Alliance on Mental Illness) I am passionate about joining the conversation about mental health.
Mental Health Stats
According to NAMI, one in five adults in the U.S. face a mental health struggle each year. One in 20 U.S. adults experiences severe mental illness each year, and one in six U.S. children between six and 17 face a mental health disorder each year. 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses begin by age 14, while 75% begin by age 24. Mental health disorders continue to skyrocket as social media reaches younger and younger audiences.
Our nation has a mental health crisis, and while kindness alone cannot cure a chemical imbalance in the brain, it can certainly make a difference for someone struggling. While a kind word to someone may not pull them out of the trenches of their depression, it might be the first rung on their ladder toward healing. Never underestimate the power of kindness.
Kindness can change a life; it can also save a life. If you or someone you know is struggling, call the NAMI Helpline at 1800-950-6264 or text "Helpline" to 62640.