We cannot neglect our mental health.

World Mental Health Day Should Celebrate The Survivors And Those That Continue To Battle Every Day

We shouldn't just talk about mental health on Mental Health Awareness Day

Mental health is defined as a person's condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.

In 2018, world mental health day fell on Wednesday, October 10th.

The creation of this day, to me, is to celebrate the people in this world who have survived such struggles, but most importantly those who continue to battle every day.

Fortunately, I don't struggle with any serious mental illnesses right now, so this world-wide acknowledgment is more so a personal survival.

This day should be used to celebrate those who have survived such traumas throughout their lives. Whether it be something as common as anxiety, or something as serious as depression or bipolar, these people are still survivors.

My freshman year of high school I had a serious battle with my physical image. After going through a rough time, I decided to devote all of my time to focusing on my fitness. But while focusing on fitness, I began to neglect the most important thing: my mental health.

I became obsessed with looking a certain way.

What started out as a mission to better myself, turned into a battle that turned me into someone I never thought I would be.

The weirdest thing about this phase of my life is I feel like it all happened at once.

I remember joining a Planet Fitness near my house. My intentions were to just tone up my body and put on some muscle. The problem with this was I had no idea what I was doing, so I did what most girls do: spend hours on the treadmill and cut out carbs from my diet, obviously.

One thing I have learned about myself in my near 20 years on this earth is that when I do something, I do it 100%. And in most circumstances, this would be an accomplishment.

However, when it came to this situation, I went a little too hard. Instead of taking care of myself, I was hurting myself. Mentally and physically.

I lost nearly 20 pounds within about four-five months. I fit into size 0 jeans and constantly weighed myself. And the saddest thing about this all is I didn't even think anything was wrong.

It wasn't until late April of my freshman year that my mother realized something was up. I had my dance recital for my high school, and a friend of hers pointed out how thin I was. "I cried as I watched you on stage," my mom told me the next day.

Immediately after, my parents went into full panic mode. They restricted my time at the gym to three days per week and prepared nutrient dense meals to get me back to a healthy point.

I look back to 15-year-old me and just wish I could tell her what I know now. That looking a certain way is not worth the obsessions, restrictions, or anxiety.

I'm not too sure exactly what I'd define my food struggle as, but I do know it strongly impacted my mental health.

Today, fitness remains a huge part of my life. I workout six days per week, eat a mostly healthy diet (I would die without carbs tbh), and ~try~ to get enough sleep.

But I have also discovered the importance of balance. I have accepted that it's OK to eat ice cream when I'm sad, to skip the workout if my head is foggy, but to make the next decision one to balance out the last.

On this world mental health day, I am proud that I take such good care of myself. And you should too.

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