What is a Role Model? Not too long ago, we decided that it wasn't enough to cast fashion models based on height and comp cards. We wanted to showcase the stories of real people, who are brave enough to wear their label. Ashley is one of those Role Models.
Ashley is doing amazing things through her blog. This is her story:
I remember I was about fifteen years old when I looked in the mirror and didn't see myself. I started noticing all the flawed specs of my existence and I hated it. Why me? Why now? I didn't remember how life felt before having Generalized Anxiety Disorder but I imagined it must have been wonderful; and I was jealous, so very jealous of the young girls my age who had it all, looks and a working mind.
During my teenage years, I thought that I must be in some type of movie because everything that I was dealing with was so intense. It wasn't the typical body image issues teens normally get when they hit puberty and yea, I had moments of feeling ugly with my body and face but it was more dangerous. I disliked who I was because of my anxiety. I disliked something that no one else could see but myself, like a dark cloud that followed me everywhere.
That dark cloud obscured my beauty, my confidence, my hopes and it told me, I wasn't beautiful enough, smart enough, powerful enough to even be here. That cloud lasted for several years until something within just blew it away. And one day, I was able to see the beautiful blue sky, to see happiness and even feel it.
I look back now, almost 25 years old and the negative ways I viewed the world were because of my confidence. I was missing that power within because of anxiety. Not many people understand the power having a mental illness has upon someone. If I had let myself believe I did not have an anxiety disorder, like many said, I probably would not be here. There is such a stigma surrounding mental illness that those of us who are suffering, lose. We lose the support, the acknowledgement, the confidence and the hope.
It's not an easy journey, it'll probably be one of the hardest ones you'll go through but my goodness, you are worth it. The beauty that is within you needs to be shown. Don't give up on yourself yet, when everything feels like it's all falling down, let it. Have the faith and confidence in yourself that I didn't have, to know that you can do it. Fall but understand that when you do, the only way will be up. Falling to the lowest moments in your life are also moments of healing because it forces us to find the strength we believe we don't have.
Having a mental illness does not make us less, in fact it makes us so much more. You are worth it, you are loved.
Check out the original post & Ashley's blog here.