Hey friends! Today I’m here to get a little personal and share something that’s very close to my heart.
Being a young person in today’s society, with social media constantly at our finger tips, has become more difficult than ever before. We put our lives up, mainly for our friends and loved ones to enjoy, but they aren’t the only ones that see. Now’s there’s the ability to be watched, scrutinized, bullied, and threatened by people you’ve never even met.
Anxiety disorders and depression are constantly apart of the conversation these days. It’s all over the internet, on social media, in the music that’s being listened to, even in the news. Yet we’re still losing more and more young people to suicide and overdose because people aren’t doing much else outside of having the conversation.
The number of people who advocate for being kind and being supportive of those in need does not match the number of people that are actually taking steps to BE supportive.
When I was 18 I developed this crippling clinical depression. It was something I didn’t understand because I thought I was happy. Why do I feel this way? Why am I like this? I felt like I was trapped because I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I didn’t want to be a rain cloud. I felt like it was my duty to be carefree and fun, so I faked like I was for the sake of the people around me. That just dug me into a deeper hole.
For a long time I was angry with myself. I thought that if I had just talked about it with my friends in the beginning, I never would have gotten so low. I convinced myself that they wouldn’t even believe me if I told them now, because I was just “fine” before. I attempted to bring it up casually, but I couldn’t take the look of pity in their eyes or the tone of their voices when they said things like “I hope you get better” or “that sucks.”
I was stuck. Alone during a time when I was entirely too hard on myself, too harsh. Depression had taken over and convinced me that I was not worthy of love and that my life was meaningless. I was not a good friend to myself and that pushed me over the edge.
Lucky for me I found an amazing light in that darkness that helped me to start seeing clearer again, and I also found the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
I attended a few events that the AFSP held and met some people who I could finally relate to. People that knew exactly what I was going through and wouldn’t judge me. They helped me to understand that this is a process. There is no instant cure. You have to fight everyday, but it’s so much easier when you’re not fighting alone.
I’ve been actively working on myself. I try to get out more often rather than keeping myself in my room. I try to socialize with others as much as I can. I started blogging so that if I ever did feel alone again, I’d have an outlet and maybe a community of support to keep me on track. I do small exercises every single day to strengthen the bond within myself such as repeating affirmations in the mirror or just taking five minutes alone to check in and make sure I’m doing okay.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses can do a great job of taking over and making you believe that it can’t get any better. That this constant feeling of nothingness is now your life and there’s nothing you can do about it. WRONG!
Take care of you. Do things that once made you happy, cut off toxic relationships, find new hobbies, keep a journal, start a new skin care routine. Do positive things that will have positive impacts on your life. Here’s a short list of things I’ve tried along my journey to combat my depression and negative thoughts:
- Writing down my thoughts (both negative and positive)
- Dance classes
- Healthier eating
- Shopping (my favorite one!)
On this journey, I’ve learned that loving myself has played a HUGE role in my recovery. Before, I was busy comparing myself to others and being very hard on myself if I didn’t immediately succeed at something. I was constantly criticizing my appearance as if that wasn’t ME I was being mean to. If I couldn’t even appreciate and love myself, how would I ever expect anyone else to do the same for me.
I know it sounds cliché, but it’s SO true. Self love is the best love! No one knows you like you do. Accepting yourself, flaws and all, opens the gate for others to accept you just as you are. If you don’t like something, change it. Don’t ridicule yourself, but write down what it is you want to see different, and form a plan of action to achieve those goals.
Start holding yourself to the same expectations that you would hold your boyfriend or girlfriend to. Take yourself out, buy some flowers for your room, give yourself a kiss in the mirror, leave cute notes around with nice things about you, write yourself a love letter and read it everyday. Show yourself so much love that you don’t have to seek outside of yourself for happiness.
I’m beyond grateful today that I’m alive. I’ve developed a love for myself that nothing or no one can interfere with. I look in the mirror every day and tell myself that I love what I see because that’s what is working for me. I realize that not everyone is the same, and what may have worked for me may not work for someone else. I do want to be there for as many people as I can though.
If you’re feeling alone or are having a difficult time staying positive, please contact me. I will take the time to talk to, comfort, and support anyone that needs it because I’ve been there. You can message me on Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need more help than I can provide, please contact the AFSP. They have local chapters all over the country with people who genuinely care about your well-being and existence. Also, here’s the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Thank you all for taking the time out to read this post. Some parts were difficult to write as they may be to read, but suicide is not something we can ignore. Mental illness is not something we can ignore. We have to mean what we say and back up our words with actions. Let’s be there for one another the way I know we can be. Be a voice. Speak up for those that can’t and let’s keep fighting TOGETHER!