Being an advocate for the support of others' mental health is a fairly easy task. Opening up about your own is challenging. This is the first time I have ever opened up about my own mental health on a public platform. This has been one of the scariest things I have ever done, but I felt as if it was necessary for my own healing process. If you are reading this, that means I have mustered the courage to share my story.
When I was younger, I was bullied often. I had a gap in my teeth, weighed more than most girls, and had a personality that some people found annoying. I was an easy target for those who found themselves as better than me. I struggled all throughout my high school years, trying to conform to avoid confrontation about how I look and act. This has done nothing but worsen my own mental health and began a manifestation of negative feelings about myself within my own mind.
I haven't told many people outside of those close to me my story, and I won't disclose my entire story in this article, but this is a step I must take to better my own life. Before college, it was easy for me to find help when I was struggling through a wave of sadness. My mother was my rock, and I could go to her for whatever help I needed. I was extremely grateful. But my biggest fear was college. What do I do when I can't run downstairs to my living room and ask my mother to comfort me?
At college, my mental health has been in it's worst state. You can be who you truly are here-- but do I know that about myself yet? I have tried so many times here to become the person that I want to be. I want to improve myself to the point where I can look back at all of the hardships I have gone through and smile, knowing that I have made it to my goals.
I am not writing this for pity, I am writing this for myself. This is one of the biggest steps I have to take to accomplish my goals. If I can come out of the shadows and finally stop trying to hide the fact that I am struggling, maybe then I can get better. Maybe then, I will be able to go to the gym without worrying that people will laugh and snicker at me for how I look. Maybe then, I will be able to meet new people and surround myself with the people who understand me and enjoy my presence. Maybe, I will be able to prove myself and the world wrong about stigmas surrounding mental illness. Maybe I will turn these maybes into "I wills".
I hide my sadness behind humor, behind the laughter, being scrutinized Instagram photos. I hide it in the music I listen to. I hide it in my nonchalant tweets, behind every Snapchat story, behind the advice I give to others in the same situation-- behind everything. I am sick of hiding. I want to have comfort in myself and being who I really am. I want to stop feeling as if I could not share my story because other people think that I live such a perfect life and there is no reason to be sad. People struggle behind closed doors. Putting on a face that everything is perfectly fine does not mean that it is. I wish people would realize it.
It won't be a quick process. It will have a lot of hardships and struggles, but I have already proven to myself that I can get through some of the darkest times. I have faith in myself. I will do it. I can do it. This is my first step.