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I’ll be honest, I’ve had this topic in my head for quite some time now, but I’m only just now sitting down to write it. I wanted to be one of those success stories where I can explain how low I used to be and how my life is drastically different now and that I’ve changed for the better. But I’ve realized after my many years of struggling with my mental health that I may never reach that moment where all of my troubles are gone and I’m permanently healthy.

Life is filled with so many different struggles. Am I mentally better than I was years ago when I was at one of my lowest points? Yes. Do I still have those really bad days and moments now? Yes. Does that defile my mental health journey and track record? No — because I’m more aware of my struggles now, and I’m doing something about it.

You can be the happiest you’ve ever been, the most successful you’ve ever been, and you could be surrounded by people in your life that bring you joy, safety, and genuine happiness, yet you can still be depressed.

So dear reader — yes, you — I want you to think strongly about what I’m about to type next and say it out loud.

Every day is a success story, because I’m still here.

You’re a survivor because you chose to not give up all those years ago, or this week or even today. You’re a survivor because you’re defying the odds, and you’re still showing up for yourself.

Mental health is an uphill battle, and some days, it seems never-ending. You just get better at realizing what you want in your life, who you want in your life and what brings you so much happiness and joy that you stay on this earth and you fight for your right to be happy.

For me it’s music. Simple right?

It’s the live shows, it’s the anticipation of waiting for your favorite band’s new albums, the people you meet in the crowds, the feeling when you see them performing that one song that got you through hell and back. That’s the feeling of pure bliss. You’re unstoppable and you’re living. You hear that? You are out there living your life. To me, that means everything. Everyone has that joy, that something that just makes you feel on top of the world, and that you’re finally in your safe space where nothing can hurt you anymore.

Not everyday is going to be the best day of your life, and it’s okay to recognize that maybe your mental health isn’t as great as it used to be sometimes. What’s not okay is letting that realization consume you. I’ve learned that the hard way. I know it can be hard sometimes, but you have to remember why you’re here, what you’re living for and why you’ve decided to keep waking up every day.

You are so strong and brave for dealing with stress, life, friends, everything. Stop apologizing for how you feel. Start cutting out the stressors in your life that are aren’t doing anything but dragging you down. Doing that means you’re growing. You’re finding your place in this world, and you’re realizing your health, your relationships with family and friends, and your overall sanity come first. For once, put yourself first. It’s worth it in the end I promise.

If high school me read this, I don’t think I would even recognize myself. If I could, I would tell my younger self to hold out a little longer, because she’ll eventually become the person she’s always needed. Don’t beat yourself up over your bad days because you’re so much more than that.

You’re a survivor.

You’re a survivor because you choose to live on.

You’re a survivor, and you can get through this, because you’ve been through so much worse.

A band called The Maine once released a song with this bit of wisdom, “every moment’s relevant, bittersweet and delicate.” Remind yourself of this every once in a while.

You’re a success story, and don’t let anyone tell you or make you feel anything different.

 

Senior at Appalachian State University. Majoring in Journalism and minoring in Marketing. There's no problem a good cup of coffee can't fix, honestly. I believe in singing loudly and dancing horribly to all music, and living by the statement to always have courage and be kind.
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