When you think about your relationships with the people around you or the people you meet, what do you really know about them? And what do you let them know about you?
Yesterday an incredible conference was held at the McHenry County College. The Mental Health Wellness & Recovery Conference was organized by our County's Mental Health Board and could not have happened without the help and support of many employees of area agencies, volunteers and businesses.
How prevalent is mental illness? A figure mentioned often yesterday was that mental illness is experienced by one out of four. So, if you are in line at a coffee shop or standing in an elevator or waiting in traffic or seated in your home or in your office, one out of the three around you may be a person with mental illness. Maybe that "one" is you.
I heard two people share their own stories - their personal journeys. They not only shared their successes, but they also shared the times when the challenges were great.
The reminder yesterday was that all have their own challenges. When we meet a person today, we don't know their "story". Take some time. When you meet a person, understand that they have a "story", just as you do. You may not ever hear it, but it affects the relationship that you'll have with that person.
Here, I'm not talking necessarily about a "mental illness" story. I mean the other person's life experiences. In the same way, you have your own life experiences, your story. Big parts of it you may never share with many you meet. But they are still an important part of you. Even if you think you've buried that part of you, it's still there.