It’s just a normal Monday. The dreary Chicago spring doesn’t make getting out of bed any easier, but there’s something else keeping me under the covers. My heart is racing at the thought of speaking up in class. I’m self-conscious about my academic skills compared to my classmates. I’m sad and stressed because I don’t have a summer internship. I’m dealing with anxiety and depression…every single day.
I was in denial for so long. I didn’t want to admit that anything was wrong with me. But, my freshman year of college, I reached a breaking point. I wasn’t eating, and I wasn’t sleeping. I didn’t want to hang out with people. I didn’t even want to leave my room. Transitioning to college was much harder than I had expected it to be. I knew something was wrong, and I knew I wasn’t acting or feeling like myself, but I didn’t know what to do.
One of my friend from home suggested that I speak to a therapist. Instead of heeding to her advice, I lashed out. My problems weren’t bad enough that I needed to seek help, I thought to myself. But as the months went on, I felt worse and worse. I ate and slept even less. I was breaking apart and doing nothing to pick up the pieces, just letting myself fall.
After having a panic attack in the middle of my dorm room, sitting alone on the floor, I realized it was time to take my life into my own hands. I called a therapist and started going every week. Things still did not feel better. I was expecting happiness to come back to me immediately, but I still felt depressed and alone. Overtime, I had to realize that the road to happiness was a marathon not a sprint. There were bumps in the road, and the finish line was far from sight, but I had to keep running. It took time, but things did get better. If my freshman year self could see me now, she would not be able to believe I made it out of such a dark place. It took work and determination, but I am closer to happiness than ever before. I still feel anxious and depressed, but now I know how to deal with it and that these feelings are okay.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and coming to terms with my own mental health was not an easy process. I felt alone, I felt something was wrong with me, and I felt like things would never get better. But the truth is I was never alone, I was just surrounded by other people putting on a brave face every day. This month, let’s show others that they are not alone. They are not the only ones battling these issues, and its normal to feel anxious or depressed. I don’t always feel okay, but I’m okay with that. Let’s all be okay together.