My Mental Health Has Made Me A Better Person
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Health and Wellness

My Mental Health Has Made Me A Better Person, I Wouldn't Trade My Battle For Anything Else

I wouldn't be the person I am today without my struggles.

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My Mental Health Has Made Me A Better Person, I Wouldn't Trade My Battle For Anything Else
Amanda Neimann

There's an old saying that goes, "Maturity is not measured by age, rather it's an attitude built by experience." Dealing with mental health issues has been an experience that has most definitely contributed to my personal growth and the overall development of my maturity. Partially due to life circumstances, I had always been a bit more mature than my peers. However, stopping myself in my tracks to address my deteriorating mental health was a huge step in my life and made a bigger impact on the person I am today than I would have ever imagined.

I am the laziest perfectionist known to man. I always pile things onto my plate, feeling that I need to be involved in as many things as possible in order to be a well-rounded and successful individual. Upon falling into a depression, it was difficult to get myself out of bed even to do things I used to love doing. Work, school, even hanging out with friends became exhausting and required 10 times more energy than they had in the past. After dealing with the difficulty of getting out of bed yet wanting to keep up with what I needed to be doing, I stopped spreading myself so thin and slowed down. I cut my work schedule in half, took a leave of absence from certain extracurriculars I had been involved in, and stayed away from social media for a little while.

I let myself be tired and lazy and miserable with less things to worry about.

Slowing down helped me mentally catch up to myself, allowing me to breathe. I made the decision to see a therapist and sort out my thoughts, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I spent about an hour every two weeks talking to a stranger about all of my feelings, whether I understood them or not, and deciphered them to figure out what was really going on in my head. Going to therapy helped me to open my mind up to self-reflection even on my own time. I began journaling and writing down my feelings and thoughts, which imitated the feeling of having these thoughts physically removed from my brain and put onto paper to be stored in a desk drawer. I slowly began to pick back up where I was, getting re-involved in my extracurriculars while prioritizing my mental health and overall happiness.

After a year of doing myself and digging deep down to really reflect on myself as an individual, I began to feel happy.

Along with the support of friends and family among other things, coming to terms with the fact that I had problems of my own to deal with really changed me as a person. I have become much more patient with others than I was in the past (and as a New Yorker, that doesn't really say much), I've become much more understanding, and I've gained an insight on life that many others haven't given themselves the opportunity to experience yet. I've become a much more positive person and know my limits much better than I did before, which makes time management and communication with others so much easier.

The best advice I can give to friends who have gone through or are going through things such as mental illness, breakups, family problems, friend drama, school stress, and so on, is to really take the time to self reflect and address any internal conflicts or built up feelings. The only person you are guaranteed to have for the rest of your life is yourself, so you should take care of yourself first and foremost. The place I was in a year ago was a pretty dark and sad place to be, but I wouldn't ever trade that part of my life for a happier, lighter time.

If it weren't for dealing with my mental health issues, I wouldn't be the person I am today. And to be quite honest, I'm pretty proud to be her.

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