The first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is one.
But how can you fix a problem if you keep pretending it doesn't exist?
I always thought that I could handle anything that was thrown at me no matter how big or small. I always saw myself as the person who had a smile on her face no matter how bad things were. I never talked about my problems to my friends out of fear that I was bugging them, and I never talked to my parents out of fear they'd say I was "crazy."
But when my family started going through some financial hurdles this year that put extra stress on me, I started to bend under all the stress.
I started isolating myself and not answering texts as often throughout the day, I started noticing every little flaw about myself. I didn't eat much. My mood dropped. I cried often. My grades had started to suffer because I couldn't concentrate.
I used concerts, the one thing I love most in this world, to mask the pain for a few hours.
When I couldn't take it anymore, I finally reached out to my best friend and broke down. I told her everything that was happening, and not once did she judge or laugh at me. She listened to me, offered her support, and we grew closer through it all, surprisingly.
These past few months when I was at my lowest point, I saw it not only in my emotional state but in my personal and professional lives as well. I became withdrawn from my team when they needed me, I was missing deadlines, I wasn't responding to emails, and I wasn't writing as many stories as I normally did.
I noticed that it was taking a toll, but I just didn't have the energy or motivation to do anything about it.
How could I fix something that was breaking when I couldn't even fix myself?
Something that I had always preached to my friends when they were in these situations was music. Music can be a stress reliever, but people can also take comfort in knowing they're not alone.
I finally took my own advice and gave it a go.
"The Great Depression" by AS IT IS came out last August, and it's one of my favorite albums, but until I recently saw them in concert and met them, I hadn't quite paid it as much attention as it deserves.
This album is a concept album, and it tells the story of a man who finds himself face-to-face with Death. This album also touches on mental illnesses and tries to understand the nature of them while questioning society's romanticization of said illnesses while relating them to our everyday present problems.
This article isn't about how amazing this album is, although that may come later, it's about how I knew I had hit rock bottom and needed to climb back up but didn't know how until I rediscovered this album and met some of the sweetest people I'd ever met.
I'm taking each day as one, and I'm slowly getting better. I'm starting to see that life is beautiful and worth living, that my friends care about me, that I am worthy of love, and that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.
Recovery is messy. Recovery is beautiful. Recovery is emotional. But it's so worth it.