Why? Why? Why? One of the most challenging questions to answer when seeking understanding during a struggle. Listening to many unique stories about suicide and mental health struggles, one of the recurring themes we ask during a time of distress is “why?” Why did I have to grow up poor? Why did I have to grow up without a father or mother? Why did that happen to me? Why am I on this earth?
One way that I have maintained hope and resilience is through finding purpose in pain. Although it may not be easy, there is a purpose for each individual on this earth. No matter how you were conceived, you are meant to be on this earth, and there is a purpose for your life. The world would be different without you in it. When discussing purpose, it can be generally defined as the reason you were placed on this earth or the driving force that gets you out of bed every day.
Finding purpose in your pain is an essential part of healing. You may never understand the why for your pain, but you can decide how to live with your painful experience. For example, you may have experience with the foster care system and may dedicate your career and life to helping those who were in the spot you once were in. Or you may have an experience where you lost a loved one to cancer and want to invest your time and energy towards finding the cure to cancer—ultimately using your trauma or hardships to propel you and serve as a driving force to help others and contribute to society.
Growing up, I have found the most inspiring stories are those who conquered their adversity, pain, and trauma and found purpose. Tyler Perry, a world-renowned producer, director, actor, screenplay writer, author, songwriter, and philanthropist, is one astounding example of making your pain purpose. He shares his story in his books and interviews about the pain he experienced as a child.
In a letter to his 13-year-old self encouraging him to climb higher, he writes, “You might not know this right now, but who you become is being shaped inside of every one of those experiences… the good, the bad, and yes, even the really ugly ones.” He uses his experience of abuse and belittlement from his father to aspire to become something greater. Tyler Perry used his experience to teach him the father he did not want to be for his children.
For myself, my passion for mental health wellness sparked after living with so many years in silence. For so long, I thought I was the only one who experienced anxiety and depression. As I began to share my story, I found many people with similar stories; many were afraid to say anything. This experience sculpted my passion concerning the mental wellness of others because I know how it feels to be rejected, neglected, and affected. I understood what it was like to be different and treated differently based upon my existence.
It was important that I used the obstacles in my life and help others. I found a purpose in assisting people to not feel alone through this struggle and using my story to inspire and encourage others to reach out for help. I turned my pain into purpose. Don’t give in to your adversity; conquer it! If I can do it, you can do it too!