Stories

Not Ashamed, Not Alone

"On Saturday, my friend and I were walking the village in Winona Lake with our cameras, just taking photos of flowers and other pretty things we found. On a whim, we decided to stop at Belove to look around. There was a tray of bands on a table that we were both sifting through, and I found this Not Ashamed band. It immediately resonated with me and I felt like I needed it. Having the words Not Ashamed on my wrist and being able to look down and read them throughout the day means so much, especially right now at this stage in my life.

I lost my mom on May 25th of this year to suicide. No one tells you how to grieve a loss from suicide and not many people that I know have been touched by it, so I Googled with hopes of finding SOMETHING that could help me. What I found is that a lot of survivors of suicide (that's what I'm called now) feel shame; not necessarily by the actual death of their loved one, but that they can't talk about it like you would an illness or an accident. So much confusion comes with it, and I know I wanted people to talk to me and not just ask how I was doing. When you say the word "suicide" people shut down and don't want to talk anymore.

For me, Not Ashamed is talking about my mom's death openly with hopes that I will reach other suicide survivors; to help them know that they are not alone in their grief, and we can help each other heal. There are so many of us, but we stay hushed behind other peoples' shame. I want to make a difference with the fight against the stigma of mental illness, even if it's just a small ripple effect.

Not Ashamed means I will talk about my mom's life and the type of person she was, because suicide isn't a one size fits all problem. Not Ashamed also means I'm not ashamed to talk about my own mental health and the fact that I have anxiety and panic disorder. I sought out therapy after my mom's death and started medication for my anxiety. I'm open about it because I know other people feel shame in needing help, and as a result, they don't seek the help they need.

I've been told a lot that I am too sensitive. I get my feelings hurt too easily or I care too much. Not Ashamed means I am proud to be soft in the hardened world we now live in. I'm not ashamed to cry during Disney movies or when something makes me happy. To be a feeler, to love people fiercely, to tell people often how much they mean to me and how thankful I am to have them in my life. I'm not ashamed to be that mushy person. Not Ashamed means being myself. My quirky, book nerd, introverted, big-hearted, coffee-addicted self." -Erin H.

In this story: Custom band

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