In regard to the recent wave of support for Jared Padalecki, I, for one, am thrilled. He admitted to dealing with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and losing friends to suicide. Jensen, as well, has been personally affected. I have experienced all of the above and have not been able to be open and honest for fear of losing friends due to the stigma of mental illness. Jared’s bravery and honesty in admitting his personal fight against these stigmatized conditions changed my feelings about sharing my story. Jared and Jensen establishing their #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign and enabling open lines of communication between themselves and the #SPNFamily, has affected so many lives already. Bringing these often considered embarassing, hidden, shameful mental illnesses into the light and talking openly about them helps lower and eventually dispel the attached stigma. I have suffered from panic attacks, anxiety, and related depression since my medical issues appeared 5 years ago, and impacted my life so severely. Chronic pain and depression often go hand in hand, which makes perfect sense if you think about it. Being in severe, debilitating pain 24/7 would make anyone depressed and anxious. Being labeled chronic, knowing there may not be an end in sight, is terrifying. Feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, uselessness become the norm. I can’t do the things I used to do anymore. Simple things like going out to lunch or a movie, without fear of having to cancel, leave early, or break down emotionally in front of people is always first and foremost in my thoughts. Sufferers of invisible illnesses, such as mine, which include chronic daily migraine, fibromyalgia, depression, etc., are looked upon as attention-seeking, lazy, liars, and using their illnesses as an excuse to not be a contributing member of society. These impressions are stigmas and falsehoods, due to misinformation, lack of understanding and lack of empathy. Any forum that brings these illnesses to the forefront, to make them understood, to teach employers, teachers, the medical community, and the public to be accepting and compassionate are victories for all of us touched by these conditions. This includes sufferers, family members, caregivers, friends, etc. The #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign brought the #SPNFamily even closer and allowed us to openly discuss our feelings, our personal fights, our battles, our wins and losses, our ups and downs. We can do this in a safe, comfortable environment. Those that need help can ask for it and receive recommendations for doctors, therapists, websites, chat rooms, etc. Just the relief of knowing that you are not alone, others exist just like you, and that you have resources to help is a huge deal. I am forever grateful to .@JensenAckles and .@jarpad for their huge hearts, willingness to make all of us feel like a real family, their boundless love, devotion, dedication, and compassion for helping others. They set an example by always being there for each other, taking care of each other, and truly being brothers by always having each other’s backs. #J2 are my inspiration to continue battling my inner demons and to #AlwaysKeepFighting. 💕
Side note: If you are familiar with #JaredPadalecki, #JensenAckles, or #SPNFamily, Google or search on Twitter. You won’t be sorry!