having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks.
The above definition is probably the definition for strong that most of us think of. Alternately, for those that suffer with mental health or behavioral issues, one would almost never describe themselves as strong, but as weak, even if said person is a heavyweight lifting champion with enormous biceps.
And it is because, when you are battling through Depression, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or Panic Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Borderline Personality Disorder, or any other host of mental health issues, it is so scary, so daunting to face every day, that many begin to feel their inner strength sap, and they begin to feel heavy under the burden of their diagnosis, and categorize themselves as weak.
lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy.
The number one definition for weak, as seen above, does not once ever mention that you’re weak because the hard wiring in your brain and the chemicals released there give way to crippling depression or anxiety. It doesn’t once mention that past trauma, or an environmental issue in your life that has contributed to a diagnosis makes you weak. It does not say that PTSD or ADHD make you fragile, powerless, or incapable.
When I think of someone who is weak, sure, I may think of the above definition – someone with noodles for arms and who can’t twist the top off a pickle jar. But I would never think of someone in the throes of a mental or behavioral health issue as weak, because I understand that these struggles are for the most part unseen, and unheard. The person with one of these diagnoses suffers in silence, often screaming so loud, but no one can hear them.
To all those who suffer like this, or who feel shame or anger or fear or helplessness at the daunting mountain to be climbed when understanding, and then learning to cope with a mental illness or behavioral health diagnosis, I do not see you as weak, or as pathetic, or as less than.
I see all of you as strong.
In fact, I have given the word strong a new definition:
A man or a woman, a child or an adolescent, who suffers with the burden of a mental or behavioral health diagnosis, but who doesn’t break. Who has bad days, or weeks, or months, but who doesn’t give up. Who keeps their chin up, and learns that there is no shame in their personal struggles. Who hopes. Who never gives up. Who asks for help. Who cries, and fights, and bows under the pressure, but who eventually raises their eyes to the sky, wipes their tears, and takes a step forward. This man or this woman, or this child or adolescent, never gives up.
That is strong. That is so beautifully strong.