Take the first step & love yourself

I was 13 years old when my mental health finally became something to worry about to the adults and peers around me; though from the age of 8, I had begun to just be sad. I had no explanation for the feeling and often I would remain sad for a few weeks. This behavior continued until the age of 13 when I decided to finally attempt to take control of my life. Having control over my life and the emotions that came with it was something I was never good at handling. I often allowed other people to push and pull me around, allowing my mental health to be stretched thin in many different ways. 

Becoming aware was one of the ways I was able to receive the help and support that was needed at the time. After being treated in several different facilities at the young age of 13-14, I was able to recognize that there are ways of helping myself, there are people who do care and I had to be the one to take the first steps into accepting that. 

Over the past 3 years, I have found importance in my alone time. Using self-care strategies that include writing, journaling, and reading; all of these activities allows me to strive to be the best I mentally can, be in my alone time. While some may seem simple and others may seem simple but are very challenging, I have found outlets to help me cope with my feelings and then work through them.

In my senior English class this year, we are working on a Mental Health Unit. Within this unit, I am reading All the Bright Places, one that I picked because there were many times that I didn’t have a bright place. Through this book, I am learning about how my struggles have paralleled with the fictional characters in this piece, and how much control is essential in one’s journey. Control over making good choices, control over accepting help, control over feeling defeat at times and working through that, and control that I can work through this. Recognizing one’s strengths and one’s weaknesses can help build sources to help move through any times that may not seem bright, and bring a little light into one’s life. 

Last semester, I was given the privilege of making a speech about my mental health journey and the turning point in which my life was altered. This speech was an enormous step to giving my story a public voice, full of vulnerability and risk. Being able to share my coming-of-age journey aloud to my class not only allowed my experience to be more real personally and more real for my peers around me. This is the light that I am trying to use to enlighten my life and those around me.