Tuesday, October 10, 2017

World Mental Health Day

To be 100% honest, I still feel embarrassed saying I have a mental illness. Maybe it's the anxiety, maybe it's my pride, but I still feel the stigma attached to that title and I hesitate to talk about it much because of that.

This post is hard and awkward for me, just like every post I've done talking about mental health. But it's World Mental Health Day and I haven't written anything in a while, so I feel like I owe it to myself and anyone who actually reads my blog to give my thoughts.

I've been pretty up and down with my anxiety since school started again, so initially I felt like I couldn't come here with anything useful. Anxiety is crippling at it's worst and slightly less crippling at it's best. Over the past month I've lost hours of sleep, have had intense nightmares that left me exhausted and nervous, and have felt paranoid, shaky, and embarrassed to do small and relatively unimportant tasks. Plans I've developed have hit roadblocks that currently seem impossible to overcome, and have left me wondering if everything I thought I was good at is a lie. The most common thought that's run through my head lately is "maybe I'm not meant to do this," even when "this" is my lifelong dream.

That being said, I've had really good days too. I'm lucky enough to be able to function day to day and live a relatively normal life. I've gone to sports games, hung out with friends and my sister, discovered awesome restaurants, gone hiking, and have had amazing conversations with wonderful and supportive people. The good has definitely outweighed the bad.

I was thinking about that, and I realized that's kind of a big deal. At this time last year I was at the lowest point I had ever been in my life mentally. I genuinely felt like nothing would ever get better--that I was stuck being suffocated by anxiety for the rest of my life. Now I know that's not true.

So yeah, I still have bad days. I still feel self-conscious all the time in public, I still have nightmares, and I still lose sleep worrying about my past, present, and future. But my life is so much better now. The person I was last year and the person I am now are very different girls. My life isn't perfect, but it's better, and that gives me hope. I think that's all we can really ask for. In my worst moments now I can look back to where I was and compare it to where I am now and see how far I've come. How much is possible.

Life gets better. It doesn't happen right away and it doesn't always happen for you. Make your mental health a priority and fight for yourself. You deserve happiness and you deserve to know there is hope.