I like to think of myself as an activist for mental health awareness, an empathetic wellness enthusiast, and a deeply honest person that is brave enough to share my vulnerabilities.
I studied psychology in college, taking as many classes as I could, from Neuroscience 101 to “Understanding Suicide”. I even spent a year working on a thesis project centered around bipolar disorder and the importance of mental health awareness and understanding.
Yet it has taken me 9 years to really, truly, put myself out there, without anonymity, and say that:
I have a mental illness.
Just kidding! I have several.
I suffer from major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and an eating disorder (NOS: not otherwise specified — meaning in my specific case, I find it very hard to eat when stressed out or otherwise emotionally overwhelmed).
Stating this isn’t revolutionary. Hell, most of you reading this probably already know these things about me. But beyond that, more importantly, I can see and feel the tides beginning to change in the world around me. More and more people value taking care of their mental health, mindfulness, and mental health awareness in general. The dialogue is starting to move and I need to be a part of it.
Throughout the past 9 years, I have seen countless therapists and psychiatrists. I’ve tried more medications that I can remember. I even did a short stint at a great intensive outpatient facility after the end of a stressful 4 years of college, which helped me gain a healthy amount of weight. I’ve made small adjustments here or there to try and break my negative mental feedback loop and get myself help. Medication has helped. Binge watching Parks and Recreation has helped. Therapy has helped. But at a certain point, I have to help myself.
This is that point.
For the first time in those 9 years, I believe in myself. I believe I can learn to love myself. I believe I can make positive mental health changes and commit to them. I believe I can become a better version of myself. I. believe. in. myself.
Writing these words makes me cry. They make me cry because I have always had a loving network of friends and family who have believed in me, supported me, and helped me achieve the things I have to be grateful for today. Yet for some reason, I could never find it possible to believe in myself. I cry for the realization that I have had so much love thrown at me, and am only now choosing to accept it as truth.
This blog will chronicle my journey as I try new and different ways of bettering my mental health. Please be mindful that as I do these things, I am continuing to take medication, see a therapist, and see a psychiatrist. These explorations are merely meant to test ways of better taking care of myself, with the hopes that it will also help someone else, even just one person, live a better day. I will probably also make some stupid jokes.