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TRIGGER WARNING: This article has mentions of depression and anxiety.

When I was younger I would always read a book with a main character that would just make me say, “I wish I was them.” In middle school, I was lengths apart from my peers; somehow I was the odd one out, even though I tried being like them. I was your typical girl going into her teenage years, where braces, acne and a horrible fashion sense were all I knew. In constant competition with myself to fit in, I lost myself, completely. I soon went into depression and was diagnosed with a major anxiety disorder. The doctors believed that it was the bullying that gave me low self-esteem and low confidence. I always got intrusive thoughts like, “How is she so pretty? Why am I so ugly?” Or if I got one thing wrong, “I was a disappointment who could not get anything done right.” Fast forward to a couple of years later, at the end of high school, I was tired and disappointed because the negativity in me was too strong and it had only built up. I was under a dark cloud and it was doing me no good.

The truth to how I started thinking differently is simple: it was therapy. I talked and talked for hours only to realize one thing: whatever I went through or was going through made me into the person I am today, or as the younger me would say, “It is my hero origin story.” Now, how did I really grow into a better version of myself? The therapy sessions put my mind on a path with organized thoughts. I spent so long trying to be someone else that I lost most of my childhood fighting my true self for one that was just like the others. I moved on from toxic relationships, started letting go of my past, started looking into the mirror and appreciating the things I love about myself that I used to ignore because “I could be better.” I went out of my comfort zone and went into modelling, seeing myself getting praised for my work boosted my self-esteem and gave me a new perspective of challenge. My thoughts changed to, “How can I do my poses better?” instead of, “ I cannot do it and I should give up.” 

Here are a few tips to becoming a better version of yourself: get rid of the toxic people that hold you down when you try to rise and remember that sometimes being alone is okay, but do not confuse this with being lonely. Surround yourself with love and show it to yourself, maybe by doing what you’ve always wanted to do. Sometimes, our minds tell us that whatever we are about to do is embarrassing, like when I have these intrusive thoughts, my heart screams and aches, but there is always a little voice that echoes in the back of my mind saying, “what if this turns out to be the best moment of my life?” Should I change what I want to do because society has made a social construct of what is considered weird?

Remember this every day, that you are the main character in every version of your story. You just need to find that one moment where your heart is at peace even when your surroundings are not. 

Ishitaa Chopra is an author, writer, poet and model. She is a mental-health activist and enjoys computer programming. She is also a self-proclaimed Marvel enthusiast. She spends most of her time binging TV shows.
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