I am that type of person who loves their alone time. I enjoy hanging out with my friends, but after a long week of classes and everything else, I’m ready for some time alone to relax and unwind. So I was absolutely stoked to move into a studio apartment last year because it has provided me with some guaranteed alone time.

Unfortunately, as someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, sometimes alone time is the only thing I want but the last thing I need.

Thanks to my very busy work and school schedule I don’t spend a lot of time in my apartment during the week. But on the weekends I have a little more free time and I found myself staying in all weekend.

Originally I looked at this as a bad thing because it started to have a negative impact on me. I started to fear that I was isolating myself again and that maybe living alone wasn’t the best idea.

But after giving it some more thought I realized I had two options. I could either admit defeat, isolate myself, and convince myself that I can never live alone or my depression and anxiety will eat me alive. Or I can use living alone as an opportunity to grow, trust myself, and become more self-aware of my mindset. I decided that enough is enough and I’m going with option 2.

I honestly think one of the hardest parts of dealing with mental health issues is that you don’t trust yourself. It’s an internal battle and trying to fight your mind with your mind is not easy at all.

See also: I Have Depression, But That Doesn't Mean I Cannot Manage My Schedule

Living alone means the voice in my head is the only voice I hear when I’m home. I need to be able to spend time alone without it affecting me in a negative way. It’s very easy for me to let my depressive and anxious thoughts take control and having no one around when these thoughts take over is pretty scary.

I’m honestly so proud of myself for where I am now in my life. If you would have told me that I would be where I am now a couple years ago I would have laughed. However, living alone has taught me that while I am much better off now, I still have some things I need to work on. Starting with that pesky negative mindset.

When I’m home I make sure that I’m not letting my negative thoughts run wild.

If I had a bad day I try to write it all down and get it out of my head so I’m not overthinking everything while I’m washing the dishes or taking a shower. I keep the TV on or spin my favorite records so that the silence isn’t so loud. Most importantly, I force myself to go outside. While I love my little apartment and trusting myself to be alone is what I’m trying to work on, I also need to be aware of my limitations and know when I really just need to get the hell outside and breathe in some fresh air.

I may have had some moments of doubt, but I’m really happy I live alone.

It may seem like such a small and unimportant detail to some people but it has really helped me grow in so many different ways.