There’s times when life gets you down. What do you do next- do you get up, pull yourself together and face the next hurdle? Well, if you can’t, it’s okay. Life is not easy. And I’m not here to sprout rainbows and tell you it’s going to be okay; I’m going to tell you the truth.
“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin
My regular readers will know that this is a writer/reader blog. That is one of the express reasons why I’m tackling this subject here, instead of somewhere else. Creative people are especially sensitive people, and hence, are the most likely to get the blues a little too often. But the type of person doesn’t matter- and mental health no longer comes with a stigma attached to it. You’re not ‘crazy’ if you experience extreme mood swings – but you might have a problem. And step one of the path to recovery is admitting it.
A large percentage of the population suffers from some kind of mental health disorder- even as many as 1 in 5 adults. So if you know there’s something wrong with yourself, you should know that you’re definitely not alone. And if it makes you gain some comfort, I want to share my story with you, dear reader.
I’m a teenager- yes, I’m one of those lanky, squirmy almost-adults that always seems to be going through a wild phase. It took me a long time to recognize that there was really something wrong with me- not just hormones, or whatnot. I’m at that point in my life right now where I have to choose a career to pursue for the rest of my life. A stressful time, you must agree. And have you heard of that popular saying, “Teenagers always cry out that nobody understands them”? Well, all hysterics aside, it’s pretty true. Teenage is a phase of life that other people just love to make snide remarks about.
Let me tell you a fascinating fact about life- it gives you good things in singles, but also always throws you bad stuff in triples. It’s what called ‘growing up’ nowadays. Can’t swallow your insecurities and face that? Well, then you’re a sore loser. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard! You’re allowed to be cranky- you’re allowed to act out once in a while. Letting out steam is good- it’s what keeps you sane.
“I was one of those kids who thought I could be the president of England when I grew up if I wanted to. Then I started acting and realized life is hard, and people are mean. And there’s no president of England, and I’m not British.” – Riley Keough
Anyway, continuing with my narrative, I’m at a crossroads right now. Just like Robert Frost. Do I pick the road less travelled, or the one trampled over a thousand times? Your romantic head will say the less trodden one. But the practical one? It’ll pick the other. And thanks to pressure of making that one choice, I developed an inferiority complex. But that was just the start of my downward spiral. The worst times were just before important exams- I began to have nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, and soon that led to depression. How do I know all this? No, I didn’t see a psychologist. Apparently, they’re a joke in my country. No, I pursued clinical psychology as an extra course, so I know what’s involved.
So now what am I do? Because try as I might, I could not get over my wrecked mental state. My parents laughed it off, other people thought I was an attention-monger and I eventually lost all sense of self-worth. Not once during that time did anyone reach out to me and say, “Hey, are you okay?”. Professional counsellors will tell you to reach out to other people as part of your recovery process. I’m sorry, Dr. XYZ- but that ain’t easy. It’s hard to communicate those kinds of feelings.
And now for the punchline- I’m still heavily depressed, although I have gotten quite adept at concealing it from others. I drag myself through every dull moment of every day, and when I look at myself from two years ago, I can’t recognise that smiling, happy-go-lucky girl. But then what was the point of this article? This is not a how-to-get-rid-of-depression post; I’m talking reality. Most people don’t get to be cured, or be ‘normal’ again. But they do find out a way to keep on going. Because that’s what important.
The only thing that is keeping me sane is the fact that so many of you are reading this right now and some of you are nodding along, silently identifying with my situation. One of the dire consequences of upset mental health is how it leads to self-destruction. So DO NOT THINK NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. You were brought into this world for a reason, and no matter how bad you feel at this minute, someone somewhere will definitely miss you when you’re gone.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs
Here’s something you can do to make the world a better place, though- always have a smile for others, no matter how bad you feel. A smile can go a long way for someone suffering. And always think before you speak – words can hurt, and once they’re out, you cannot take them back. Oh, and remember- what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Go ahead and find your happy place- there always is one somewhere. Light wins over dark, and one day you’ll look back on your hardest days with a smile and know that that grueling period made you a braver person afterwards.
This Mental Health Awareness month, strive to make this world a little easier to live in.
P.S- If you want to share your story, I’m here to listen! The comments section here is a positive space- no one will judge you ❤
And since you sincerely read all of that lengthy post, here’s a kitten to make your day better! 😉