About 9 years ago I found myself alone in my bathroom. I was fighting through a panic attack and had been for an hour. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. A prickly feeling took over my body. The pain in my chest was unbearable. The hoarse coughs escaping me were shocking. I started to throw up. As I crawled to the door to try and get my phone to get help, I remember thinking, “How am I going to survive?” I reached up for the door handle and then everything went black. I passed out. When I woke up I was afraid and defeated.
My eyes still fill up with tears when I think about that day. I’ve come so far since laying on that bathroom floor. Although this may not have been the worst panic attack I faced, it’s one I feel comfortable sharing. There are countless examples I could give to help you understand what my life was like. I was a young girl being destroyed by her anxiety. My disorders dictated my every move and it was chaos.
However, I’m not the only person who has faced adversity. I’m not the only person who has been brought to their knees by things they couldn’t control. My story is not extraordinary. It is one that thousands face every day. What I think is becoming extraordinary is the story that started afterwards. It took me years to get myself on track and I sometimes still fall short, but I have taken these horrible situations and turned them into something special.
We all have problems. We all fight stigmas and insecurities. I want to change that by using my honesty to inspire others to share their stories. I want to create a less judgmental, more accepting world. While the mission is simple, the idea is not trivial. ListenLucy.org is how I’m going to accomplish this. It is how I am already accomplishing this.
I’ve been lucky enough to have many people reach out and say how Listen, Lucy has impacted their life. Each time, it means more. At one particular speaking engagement, I could see a girl in the crowd who looked like she was going to cry. Her legs were bouncing up and down and she looked uncomfortable. At the end of my presentation, she approached me and asked if we could talk. We sat down and she burst into tears. She shared with me that when I was speaking about my experience, I was saying everything she wished she could say. She said her family had not been supportive of her struggle and that she finally didn’t feel alone once she heard what I had been through. I fought back my own tears as I promised her she was going to be OK and that she was going to come out of this stronger than she ever thought she could be. I reassured her that she was not alone. I could never put into words how much that conversation meant to me. Every time I get overwhelmed, I think of that interaction and I feel humbled and motivated. Listen, Lucy is important. It is necessary.
This thriving organization is my way of taking control of the mental health issues I have withstood and introducing #TheAcceptanceMovement to the world. It’s my way of not allowing myself or others to be a victim of circumstance. It’s my happy ending to a chaotic story. It is using the hand I was dealt to make our world better.
ListenLucy.org is where the world is becoming kinder. It’s where you can share your story without fear of ridicule or negativity. It’s a place where you can be yourself, anonymously and unapologetically, to work through your struggle. It’s where you can learn about the adversity others have faced and what they have learned through their experiences. It is where we learn to accept each other. The stories are as brave as they are beautiful. I’m thankful for my difficulties because without them, Listen, Lucy wouldn’t exist.
Never be embarrassed by your flaws. Use them to your advantage. Never hate yourself for things you can’t control. Take your weaknesses and turn them into strengths and then share those strengths with those around you. You really never know how your story and experiences could give someone hope. You never know how your struggle could inspire another. Take your difficult, crappy situations and turn them into a beautiful story and when you’re ready- share that story at ListenLucy.org.