I have grown up in a place where we don't talk about mental illness; some don't think it is a real and serious thing. I was depressed, alone; I can't share really what I feel, my pain; nightmares. I suffered from misconceptions and stigma, lack of support, it was hard to experience.

After a while I recognized that I am not the only one who is in pain. I saw many people posting in Facebook and Twitter. They tried to explain themselves to others; then I decide to do something.

The first step was volunteering as an active listener. I did not know there are many ways to give others support; empathy; kindness, even if you are not a therapist. I took the training and I started online; it was a great experience. I know I am not fixing the world, but I can make those people not feel alone; understood, validated, worth the caring, and supported. It is all what I missed before.

The second step was educating myself about mental illness; by reading books, training, engaging in discussions. Now I am working to be a peer support. I want to help others through the recovery process. It takes some time, maybe some years, but it’s worth it to try.

The next step will be to do something effective to end stigma.


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