10 Life Lessons I Learned The Hard Way

10 Life Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Life sometimes chooses to teach you things in the hardest ways

146
views

"525,600 minutes

How do you measure, measure a year?"

Quoting one of the most quintessential songs from Rent? Yeah, that's a cheesy way to start, but also fitting.

I went through a hell of a lot within the last year. But instead of measuring it in bad versus good moments, I am choosing to measure it in the life lessons I learned.

1. A true friendship only exists when you're both willing to fight for it.

Both people in the friendship must be willing to fight for each other and more importantly, for the relationship. What I mean is, if something were to happen and one person isn't willing to really work through it, to fight to keep the friendship alive and not let it fall apart, then it's not a true friendship. A true friend will do whatever it takes to keep the relationship going because they love their friend. Because that friend has a value to them, is important to them.

2. It's okay to only have one friend.

I guess I should clarify. Obviously, it does suck to only have one friend. But in this case, I mean one best friend. One person you know without a doubt you can trust, who will always be there and will always fight for you just as you fight for them. As long as you have that one friend, you'll be okay, even when it doesn't feel like it.

3. You don't need a large number of friends.

I wrote an article about this back in December. Looking back on it, I still strongly believe in every word I wrote. Quality should always come before quantity. I'd rather have a smaller amount of friends than surround myself with people who I'm not really close with, who I may not fully trust, and that may not be the people I ultimately want to stay in my life.

4. Not all relationships are meant to last.

All the cheesy adages about relationships ending really are true. That it's for the best, it wasn't meant to be, you'll be okay in the long run. If those people were meant to be in your life, they would still be there.

5. NEVER put up with a negative work work situation.

Especially if the higher-ups don't take you seriously or care when you try to report something. I was stuck for a while in a very negative work situation with coworkers who were homophobic; made jokes about sexual assault, rape, mental health and suicide as if they were topics one can laugh at; and bullying behavior that the manager and owner blew off as "that kind of banter (yes, banter) is just how they talk, ignore it." One guy actually said if I ever came out as bisexual, he would never speak to me again.

I had numerous breakdowns because my anxiety and depression kept getting triggered. I often felt uncomfortable and unsafe, and the two worst offenders didn't notice, or care when they did. I only stayed to make rent money. If in anyway you find yourself feeling like you were in a negative for situation where you don't feel comfortable or OK, speak up and if you can get out.

6. Talk with your parents.

Having a good relationship with a parent, grandparent, guardian, or someone older, in general, is always a good thing to have. They can provide a certain guidance or insight that you may not get from a friend closer to yourself in age. With everything I was dealing with, especially mentally, I began talking more with my parents and growing closer to them. Our relationship is now better than it's ever been.

7. PUT YOURSELF FIRST.

There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first. It's one of the best things you can do to preserve your mental health, honestly. When you start putting yourself and your needs before first, you're establishing to the world and to yourself that you matter. Never sacrifice your time, energy, money, effort, or any part of yourself to make others happy if doing any of that makes you unhappy.

8. There is nothing wrong with getting mental help.

In the past year, I took two major steps in bettering my mental health: returning to therapy and starting medication for my depression and anxiety. I had a lingering fear of therapy after a less-than-great experience the previous two times I went (read more here), and I was scared that taking medication would affect who I was.

But I was so wrong. If anything, the medication allowed me to become more of myself instead of less. I was able to actually enjoy myself, now that my head wasn't as bogged down by negative anxious thoughts. Therapy has helped me overcome negative past experiences, triggers, and more. Whatever you do, please don't ever be afraid to get help. You will be better, healthier, stronger for it.

9. You don’t need to do everything alone.

This one is something I still struggle with. I became so accustomed to being very self-reliant, and learning to let go of that control was hard. IS hard. It's hard to remember that you can't always do things on your own, and sometimes you need to let someone else do something for you.

10. Sometimes you have to lose a lot to find yourself.

This was by far the hardest, most painful lesson to learn. In the last year, I lost numerous friends, my original major, my confidence in my talents, myself. I got smacked in the face when I realized I couldn't go along the original career path. One incredibly bad audition, on the tail of three failed attempts to get into community shows, severely shook my self-confidence in my talents, or what for a long time I believed was a lack thereof. Those two things ripped out the foundation of who I thought I was, and I hit rock bottom mentally for a while.

BUT. I switched to a new major, which I eventually realized would be much better for myself. I began medication, which brought me up from rock bottom. I nailed an audition and got into a show at a major community theater, which gave me back a part of myself and rebuilt my confidence in my abilities. I started writing for the Odyssey, finding more of my personal writing voice and discovering just how much I enjoyed writing. I found myself again.

Losing self-confidence, friends, your foundation, is not the end of the world. You survive, become stronger. Become a better version of yourself.

I hope you take these lessons to heart. Maybe they'll be helpful now, maybe they'll be helpful down the line. For now, live your best life, put yourself first, and you'll be okay.

Cover Image Credit:

Pexels

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
1645800
views

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

My Therapy Sessions Cost $155, My Antidepressants Cost $30, But My Mental Health Is Priceless

Maybe money DOES buy happiness.

70
views

Getting diagnosed with clinical depression was definitely a game changer for me, especially considering I was only 15-years-old. As if life as a high schooler wasn't hard enough, now I was an over-emotional teenager who had to take medication to help herself feel somewhat normal.

Little did I know that the combination of therapy and medication would quite literally save my life.

It's so easy to walk around a store looking at price tags on everything and trying to decide, is that shirt really worth $15?

Here I am telling you loud and clear: Your mental health is PRICELESS.

Granted there are plenty of days when I'm already in bed and I think, "Crap, I forgot to take my meds" or I grumble at the thought of having to go to therapy on a day when I'm feeling fine and I'm not sure what I'll have to talk about. But looking back on every session, every medication, I could not be more thankful that I have those resources and the ability to access them. Sure they cost an arm and a leg (especially without insurance), but I'd rather be spending the money doing what's good for me rather than having a little bit of extra cash when I feel absolutely miserable.

If you struggle with mental illness and are not medicated or do not attend therapy sessions, I'm truly encouraging you to do so! Talk with your doctor about taking generic brand medications or help you find a support group if you feel you aren't financially able to afford regular therapy or brand name drugs.

Most importantly, don't ever EVER feel like less of a person because you go to therapy or take medication.

I know for a long time I was stuck believing I was dumb, or weak for needing to go see a counselor or take meds to simply stabilize myself. After spending way too long on beating myself up, I realized that I'm no different than any other person who receives help for their own illnesses. People with cancer go through chemotherapy, people with infections take antibiotics, when you have a cold, you might take NyQuil. Whatever the case may be, never apologize for doing what's best for you!

You have a right to make your mental health a priority, no matter what the cost may be.

Related Content

Facebook Comments