So even though I mention anxiety (a lot) and though the end of this semester was a little emotional for me, I’ve overcome a lot and made a lot of progress that I’m very proud of. Sometimes I forget just how far I’ve come because, well, day-to-day life will do that to ya. Oftentimes when I think of the ‘bad’ times of the past two winters, I remember being paralyzed in bed feeling too frightened by life to get up and face the day. I also dealt with S.A.D. and lost a lot of hope and motivation. What I often forget to remember are the changes to my life that have put me in a much better place.
I took a positive psych course my first semester at the U, and though the course was generally a joke and the prof was probably on crack, I took away one thing, which is to reflect on good things some part of the day. I set a reminder on my phone to reflect on two good things in the late evening. I was at such a point in my life where thinking of a mere TWO good things was incredibly difficult a majority of the days. But as the year went on and as I built my relationship with God and with amazing friends and because of my loving family, a lot of aspects of my life are a lot more peaceful and optimistic. I might falter and kind of lose track of myself and my mental well-being at times, but I consider this small thing a little milestone to show just how far I’ve come. Easily I can think of 2 main things in the day, but I’ve really fought to shift my entire thought process and now I consider so many little things that really show how blessed I am.
Knowing this about myself, and knowing the statistics of how common anxiety and depression are, I think it’s so important to be able to look at anyone and to acknowledge that they are fighting some quiet battle in their life. There are a lot of things that even my closest friends have no idea about that I struggle with. Just because you haven’t heard the person talk about a mental illness or a family issue or a health concern or whatever it may be doesn’t mean they don’t have that problem in their life. It is so important to be kind to everyone, to show love and grace and forgiveness. I feel like struggling with something like this can lead to one of two courses (which are completely up to you to choose): a) you become irritable because life’s so damn unfair because you have to fight just to stay alive some days or b) you learn that your battle is just one of roughly 7 billion and that the way someone’s kindness can keep you alive another day is the way you should continue to love and support people around you because they might be fighting the same struggle that you were.
I know I talk about anxiety a lot and depression sometimes, but it’s not a way of me romanticizing mental illnesses or to get some kind of attention. There’s still a lot of stigma that I hope one day will be abolished around mental health; I think it’s incredibly important to open up and talk about it because acknowledging the ‘problem’ is the first step to figuring out how to cope with it and to live a fulfilled life regardless (or because) of it.
So thank you all for your love and support. This year has shown a dramatic improvement and I can say it’s the most strong and emotionally sound I have been in years.