The Struggle is Real

by Kendal Blair

For me, mental health is a daily struggle. I don’t have a serious condition like schizophrenia or ADHD. I am simply a second-year college student trying to get by. I spend most of my days going to class, getting good grades, and hanging with friends. I just celebrated my second anniversary with my boyfriend. To any onlooker, my life seems practically perfect.

But that’s not the whole story.

On the inside, the part that nobody sees, I often struggle with bouts of depression. The intruders start small, attacking my weakest defenses. “You’re so fat and disgusting.” “Did you seriously just say that? You’re an idiot.” Then they grow bigger and stronger. “How could he ever love you looking like that?” “You’re utterly worthless.” “See even your friends don’t want to hang around you.” Eventually, I’m left stranded on a desert island of my own design. I lock myself away from everybody, watching Netflix or reading a book. Hoping, always hoping, that the voices would just stop. But they never do. These imposters rob me of my self-worth, until I’m left empty. I become adrift in an endless void of self-doubt.

You know what the worst part is?

I give into my own horrible slander. I allow my insecurities to run rampant. My weakness in this fight makes me believe I am essentially worthless. “What kind of person allows her own lies to break her?” I get sucked into a dark and twisted ball of self-hate. With every step I take to fight back, I only spiral further down into nothing.

How can I stop my own demise?

I can’t do it alone. I must be willing to open up to my loved ones. It’s hard to share every ugly detail. But then something amazing happens. I slowly begin to unravel the lies. I’m not fat, I’m a beautiful woman. I’m not an idiot, I’m brilliant in my own way. I’m valuable. I’m significant. I am loved. All the invaders eventually sink into the background. They no longer control me. Vulnerability leaves them powerless. My fight isn’t over but I now have a plan of attack.

My story, and many others like it, is why everyone should promote mental health awareness. At some level, everyone struggles to maintain a healthy mental status. Their fight could be against anxiety, depression or something else entirely different. No matter what, it is important to realize, their battle matters. To everyone struggling out there I say, “You are not insignificant because you act differently or feel off. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You deserve to be treated as such.”

No one should face the torment of feeling useless and unlovable. Those lies are simply not true. It only takes one person. One conversation. To change somebody’s life. It is our job, as struggling human beings, to help lift each other up. So please educate yourself, learn the warning signs, and be willing to confide in someone. Stand up and be that trustworthy person. Together we can strive to seek out the beauty inside ourselves. Let’s break the stigma that prevents people from seeking help to heal their minds.

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