What Is Bravery?

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” -Mary Anne Radmacher

Bravery gets a bad rap in the mental health world. We still seem to get stuck on the idea that we should be able to push through our symptoms without the help of medication or a good therapist. We still seem to think that we will “cure” our disease and get past it. We still want to do it on our own.

Never mind that we have empirical, scientific data to show mental illnesses in the brain, or that there are numerous peer reviewed studies showing the positive effects of various treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy. In a world where independence, self-sufficiency, and competency is rewarded, needing support is neither validated nor encouraged. But it’s time we move past these biases and see our symptoms for what they really are: a disease which is part of us but does not define us. A disease for which help is available, should you choose to seek it. A disease which has no one “right” way, but many paths towards recovery if you decide to be open to the possibilities that lie ahead.

Perhaps bravery isn’t the loud, gladiator style fighting that society tends to value. Perhaps our road to wellness lies within our ability to ask for help. Maybe our courage is quiet, and maybe it lies with medication, therapy, nature, yoga, friendship, or any number of skills we have at our disposal. There is no right way to be courageous and it may simply be that you keep going. Perhaps bravery is the ability to search and discover, try new things, see what works and what doesn’t, and honor your voice among the shattering noises of difficulty and distraction. Asking for help is not incompatible with being brave. You can be brave and continue, because you already are.

We are human and so we are brave and beautiful individuals. Choose to ask for help whether you are loud or quiet. Choose to keep going towards wellness and to take on your mental health.

 

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