Something I wish I learned earlier.
I typically start my mornings in the most mundane way possible: coffee and a podcast. Yep. I know it's weird. Never Spotify or TV or TikTok. The first thing I do is turn on either Zane & Heath Unfiltered or Unhinged by Chris Clemons. It has an “Unhinged” type of morning and a particular line struck me: “We are not our thoughts and emotions.” Later in the day, a TikTok by @william.hornby came across my "For You" page. It expressed that “you are not crying alone in your room for attention.” Either this was a crazy coincidence or the government agent watching me via my phone camera is trying to tell me something. Hi, my legal name is Olivia Mclaughlin Michota, and I am fighting depression.
Throughout the roller coaster ride of my mental illness, I have always struggled to do two things. The first is that I can’t separate myself from my wild, unexplainable emotions. When I am crying for no reason, I call myself a baby. When I am angry, I say I am being overdramatic. When I physically can’t bring myself to get out of bed, I call myself lazy. But I deny the claim that I am a lazy, overdramatic baby and for all my friends saying the same self-depreciation comments, please remember that “we are not our thoughts and emotions.” You didn’t choose this path for yourself. You are more than your diagnosis. I would never say that a cancer patient is lazy after being exhausted from chemotherapy. I would never call an amputee overdramatic for being angry at their situation. So why am I giving myself these harsh titles just because my prescription is for an unseen disorder? I am not going to fool my audience by saying that this epiphany has magically fixed my skewed perception of myself, but it helps to think back on this when I find myself deep in negative self-talk. You are so much more than the uncontrollable thoughts that sit in the back of your mind. You are so much more than the emotions that arise at the worst possible moments. You are a beautiful human being capable of achieving whatever you want out of life.
With all that being said, my second internal struggle is asking for help. For some bizarre reason, I simply can’t bring myself to do it. Perhaps it is a sense of pride and independence leading me to feel ashamed for saying, “Hey I am not okay and I need comfort.” Maybe it is older generations gaslighting me into thinking that my previous self-harm and public panic attacks are tactics for attention. I don’t know the exact reason, but I shouldn’t have to. Mental health is messy and complicated. What shouldn’t be complicated is reaching out to your support system, whoever or whatever that may be. The people that you chose to be in your life and those who chose you to be in theirs love you. Remember that, please. “You aren’t crying alone in your room for attention,” you are crying alone in your room because no one told you it's okay to reach out. You aren’t less of a person for needing advice, a hug, or a distraction. You may be surprised by how relieved you feel once you do.
Remaining as honest as possible, my own advice isn’t easy to take. There will continue to be days where I refuse to see myself for what I truly am. I recognize that each person has their story, their unique battles that I personally will never understand, but I want to. If this resonated with you, don't be afraid to start those conversations. Additionally, while I am far from a licensed therapist if you ever need support DM me on Instagram at liv_m_2238.
Also, please check out the content that inspired this all.
Unhinged with Chris Klemens: https://youtu.be/NtFbS7QYsik
William Hornby Tik Tok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM8wMuTrQ/