I am one of those people that feels SUPER uncomfortable with compliments, praise, or recognition for anything, so this post has taken me weeks to muster up the courage to write. And I only decided to do this because I recently read somewhere where a person said it’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments, to love the person you are who helps others in one way or another, and share it with people who care about you. Since I have done these things to help other people, I’m sharing this in the hopes that it will encourage others to find their passion, and do what you can to leave a positive mark on the world, no matter how big or small. Ok, here goes. *squinty eye clench face*
In 2014, I was asked by the Office On Women’s Health, an organization through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, if I would be willing to be an Ambassador for National Women’s Health Week, which is in May each year. Since I was already using my blog to encourage women to make their health a priority with posts about my struggles with hormone levels changing with age, weird stuff going on with my thyroid, and how I’ve always treated May as “me month” to remind myself to get my annual exams, I was happy to do so. I didn’t know what to expect, but the outcome was incredible. I heard from hundreds of women who thanked me for the reminder, and shared their own stories of encouraging women in their lives to schedule these annual exams, which I loved.
When I saw the results of helping so many women, I decided to write a blog post I’d been thinking of writing for a very long time, but was afraid to write. It was about my husband, Wil, who has openly discussed his struggle with depression for several years. Over those years, I’d had countless people ask me what it was like to live with someone with depression and what I did to help him seek treatment. I was terrified to write about it because I am not a professional in the field at all, and I don’t have depression myself. I was afraid I would say the wrong thing and make it worse for others. I finally decided the best way to handle this was just to make it completely about my experience and the signs I saw in Wil, and that was it. Once I finally had the courage (and with Wil’s permission) I wrote that post called “The Other Side of Depression” and to this day, I still hear from people who thank me for writing about my own experience because it was actually very similar to their own, and they got themselves or their loved one help as a result. I was also interviewed by the Office On Women’s Health about this so they could share my experience with others on their website. I never expected to be in a position to help people in this way, but I loved that I had the opportunity to do so.
I was asked to continue to be an Ambassador for National Women’s Health Week in 2015 and 2016, and of course I accepted the request. Over these three years, I have heard from three women who got that mammogram they’d been putting off, only to discover they had breast cancer. The early detection prompted them to get treatment, and saved their lives. I also heard from one woman who felt like her thyroid wasn’t functioning properly but her doctor told her it was fine, and when I wrote about getting a second opinion on health concerns, she did the same thing and discovered she had thyroid cancer. That second opinion saved her life as well. It’s a pretty remarkable feeling to know your words can help people you’ve never met, and it seriously makes me tear up every time I think of it.
Now that you have all that background, here’s why I’m writing about this.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the Office On Women’s Health because I was chosen to receive their 2016 Ambassador Award for my three years of service with them, and they asked if I could come to Washington, D.C. to receive the award at their event at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of course, my immediate reaction was to be terrified at the thought of facing any sort of praise or recognition for a thing that I love doing anyway, so I didn’t respond right away. I waited about an hour and then told Wil, whose reaction was “DUDE! You’re going, right?!” And because I’m terrified, I only agreed to go if he went with me, and so we’re both going out there this week. I’ll be doing some sort of press thing for it and I have to give a very quick speech when I receive the award, which also terrifies me, but you know? I think it’s okay to be humble and to be grateful, and to accept recognition for doing something you’re proud to be part of, even if that recognition makes you uncomfortable. You never know how you can help others unless you try and if someone wants to give you an award for your efforts, that’s just a happy little bonus.
Ok, I’m done now. *hides in a dark corner*