Hannah Brown is getting candid about dealing with anxiety and depression.
The former Bachelorette, 26, opened up to her Instagram followers in a lengthy post on Sunday in honor of World Mental Health Day, explaining that she's struggled with maintaining happiness since she was in high school.
" 'Are you happy Hannah?' I will never forget that seemingly simple question that came with a heavy answer at an annual doctor’s appointment going into my junior year of college," Brown wrote. "I’m the girl that is always wearing a smile! How dare he ask?! But oh, thank God he did."
“ 'No … I’m not. I don’t even remember the last time I felt happy. And I don’t know why. I have reason to be happy, but I just can’t really feel it,' I said through broken words passing through the lumps of emotions that had felt indefinitely lodged in my throat," the reality star recalled saying.
Brown said that she "couldn’t keep up the act anymore," recalling that "for years, I silently struggled internally as I was externally championed as the one who always seemed happy."
"I honestly think that day in the doctor’s office was the first time someone asked me if I was indeed, happy," she said.
"Admitting I wasn’t okay, and acknowledging my silent, hostage struggle with anxiety and depression through my crocodile tears was a pivotal day for me," the Dancing with the Stars champ said. "I have made big leaps of progress in healing and understanding 'it's okay not to be okay,' with important tools and support to help manage the thoughts and feelings that take over and store within me."
While Brown noted that she's made "progress," she admitted, "I have had setbacks; many being the overflow of not observing, in private, the gradual buildup of the hurtful, impactful emotions which consequently spewed into some, more public, relapses of destructive behavior."
"Today on #WorldMentalHealthDayremember that progress in mental health is a journey with hills and valleys," she continued. "Our whole world has been through a valley of fear and hurt this year. Be gentle with yourself. Be humble during the process. You aren’t going to always get it right and you will make mistakes, but you — just as you are, are enough. You matter. Ask for help. You are worthy of being able to answer the 'are you happy?' question and to say yes, regardless of the circumstances that would usually take your mind and soul captive. You got this. We’ve got this. You aren’t alone. ❤️."
Brown said last year that she was “struggling" following her drama-filled season of The Bachelorette, during which she broke up with her fiancé and the winner of her heart, Jed Wyatt, after she discovered he had lied about having a girlfriend while on the show.
“I miss my friends and family that have watched my life explode,” she wrote in an August 2019 Instagram post. “I feel guilty because I don’t have the time or emotional capacity to fill each of them in on my life right now. I can’t keep up with the people that matter most, because I can barely keep up with my own life right now.”
She continued, “I am not complaining about this past year of adventures. The woman who has emerged would shock the mirror-image young girl from a year ago. I have so many blessings to be thankful for. However it’s uncharted territory for me, and it’s been hard to really process what the heck is going on.”
Brown concluded her post with a message to her followers, reminding them that “it’s okay to be overwhelmed."
"Life is beautiful, but wild,” she wrote. “I think it’s okay to be strong — to know you’re strong — but to still feel weak simultaneously. I believe that’s when the magic happens.”
If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
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