I know this is for sure: mental illness is not a choice. There is not a choice to be so scared to leave the house, be so tired to be in bed all the time, and be so isolated that you lose all of your friends. I don't think anyone would want to outright "choose" mental illness.

Here's the thing, there's being sad and then there's depression. Being sad is not the same thing as being diagnosed with depression. There've been days when the hope is ripped right out from under me and the will to live goes right along with it. This can last for weeks, sometimes months, before I have just one authentically good day. I don't choose to be that way.

But there is one thing that's definite and written in stone: choice does exist and there are always options ahead of you of what you can do DESPITE your mental illness.

Weeks ago I got this message (the picture below) from my therapist and I didn't even think twice about it. I went along, questioning whether or not to live my life, and continued to cry over and over until I felt like I ran out of tears. I never realized how much a simple quote could hit my heart.

On a really bad day when I can't see my feet in front of me, I read this quote. It's important to remind myself that no matter how far gone I may think I am, others think differently and regardless of what anyone thinks, I can heal. Just the simple words both in this quote and from people who care about me are what keep me kicking.

Truthfully, as humans we have the potential to heal from any and everything that we encounter. Our beings and our minds may not be the same as before the hurt, but the fact still stands that we are still alive. That all begins with the choice that we make to want to get better.

We do whatever we want to do. No matter if we tell anyone else about it or not, our outcomes are based on what we've decided we want with our lives. We can choose to become better or become bitter from the things that've happened to us. The choice is ours. No matter who took choices away from us in the past about literally everything, this one is ours for the taking.

By now, it's obvious to others that things have happened to me. It may not be obvious that things are STILL happening to me and that I am far from "wanting" to be here, but knowing that I have the choice to heal from the trauma is comforting.

I will never forget sitting in office after office, across from many different people as they told me that they believed that I was going to change lives and that they believed in me no matter what I thought about myself. The thing is, though, that without me believing that I can make it, I won't.

I haven't made a choice about whether or not I want to make it.

I remember in driving school when I was (clearly) on my way to fail my test when my driving instructor looked at me and said, "You know what, Brianna? Just like when you're driving and your car goes where your eyes are looking, you have the power to go where you want to go and do what you want to do." (Don't think it's weird...he's known me a LONG time).

Maybe that's what we all need to remind ourselves of: we have the power. People can steal anything they want from us, but they cannot take our power. *Cue Powerful from Empire*.

Making that choice to heal from the hurt is enough to change your life around. Standing up to those who've hurt you and showing them the golden being that you are, despite all of their want to break you, is a revolutionary act. Before any change has even happened, YOU have changed just by deciding that you won't let them steal anymore from you.

YOU have to choose.