As someone who has struggled with their mental health for a very long time, I can boldly say that it doesn't ever go away so quickly. I still remember that day I had my first crying spell in a math class in high school. It was then and there, that I knew I was struggling. But the worst feeling was having a breakdown in the middle of class, feeling self conscious of if this will be recurrent later on when I go to college or if this was just a one-time thing that happened to take place that day. Turns out, it was the former.
Fast forward to about 6-7 years from then when I was sitting in that classroom, having my first crying spell, I still struggle with the same thing, except maybe not in a classroom anymore, but in a real world setting.
The thing I have realized about mental health awareness and finding prospective job opportunities is that they both come with a cost, conflicting each other. I have learned the hard way that to be successful in a job or market industry, means to let go of some of the worries I have about my mental health. This is much easier said than done, because I know for a fact that my mental health struggles won't disappear out of the blue once I start my internship this summer.
If I had to make a choice between securing my mental health or getting a fulfilling job, I know I would choose the first one. It has already been a life-long journey trying to feel "okay" and not struggling. But it is okay to struggle and it is okay to be okay about it.
I think of this as a long train on a railway that constantly keeps elevating. Although the train is moving in a uniform direction, that doesn't mean that the train will constantly keep going without stopping. Even though the train has to get to its destination, it will still stop at the train stops and pick up more passengers to help bring them to their destinations. And more passengers, also means more experiences abroad the train.
If I were to give someone also struggling with their mental health, who is making their way through their career path, I would tell them several things.
-Be secure in yourself and your identity: It's almost impossible to not become some type of a "people pleaser" once someone starts working for a superior or a boss that they can't get along with. But it's important to keep their personal identity within themselves in check. Just because you have to wear a certain facade in front of your boss, doesn't mean that facade has to become you.
-Own Up to Any Mistakes or Failures- For anyone who has also struggled with depression, is it very difficult to not feel bad about yourself afterwards after being criticized in one way or another. But the important part is that it doesn't have to control you or what happens next. Owning up to it, allows those mistakes and failures, to just become a footstep already made.
-Don't feel self conscious of your mental health- I know that growing up in an Asian household/culture, I have always been told to not have crying spells or mental breakdowns in public. Although these things do take greater meaning, once someone enters the workforce, it shouldn't prevent them from holding back from their emotions. Having emotions and expressing them is completely normal and shouldn't be something one should be ashamed of.
Although the journey with one's mental health amidst achieving their career path and goals isn't exactly a pretty one, that doesn't mean it can't be a fruitful one. It can still become something worth fighting for.