Recently I was asked by my friend Alana King of King Books to create a special one-of-a-kind Pop for her GoFundMe campaign to raise money for To Write Love on Her Arms, a nonprofit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide, in honor of Jared Padalecki and his Always Keep Fighting (AKF) campaigns. I agreed because I believe in the message and cause of AKF and all the good it has done for both myself and others out there.
Jared’s AKF campaigns have changed a lot of lives within the SPNFamily. When he came forward with his campaign back in 2015 and began to talk openly about his depression, it made me really take stock in myself and how I was handling my own anxiety and depression. For the first time, here was someone I looked up to and admired admitting he needed help too and that getting help was okay and not something to be afraid of. I’d been terrified for a long time about seeking help in any form, whether it was a counselor or a teacher or medication or what. I never felt like I could admit I was anything less than 100% perfectly okay all the time. I couldn’t admit I was scared, or broken, or hurting, or lost. But here was someone who on the outside always looked happy, always seemed at 100%, admitting he wasn’t.
Thanks to AKF and a dear friend, I sought out a counselor for the first time in my life, seeking help with my own mental health. Working with her helped me realize a lot about myself and how I was handling stressors in my life and how that was translating into my anxiety and depression. I also learned how and what to let go of, rather than letting things build up to a breaking point (where what usually got broken was me). I learned to be more open and accepting of myself and more willing to admit when I needed help. Old habits die hard, so I fall down sometimes and it’s hard to get back up. But the failure is not in the falling down, it’s in the staying down.
Life is going to knock you down. It’s going to throw challenges in your way, and not all of those challenges will be physical.
If you take one thing away from this, I would like it to be that it’s okay to admit you aren’t 100%. It’s okay to admit you need help. Don’t be afraid like I was and suffer in silence. Seek trained mental health professionals, whether it be a counselor or a therapist or a psychologist. Reach out. And Always Keep Fighting.