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For a long time in my life, I felt like I wasn’t equipped to handle this thing we call “life”. I was constantly in inpatient settings, I didn’t go long periods of time without ending up resorting to the same self-harming behaviors that would get me admitted to places such as those, and my desire to live was definitely far from reach. I think one of the biggest struggles I faced outside of myself was the fact that other people were constantly telling me how I was going to be stuck in this vicious, repetitive cycle of trauma, depression, and negative feelings towards myself forever. The reality is though, if I told you that the people stating those things were in the mental health field themselves, would that change your perspective on anything?
When a baby is born into this world, it is born blind to everything. It must be taught how to eat, how to walk, talk, be kind to others, etc, but after a certain amount of guidance, that baby will grow, mature, and become well enough to live on their own. Similar to a baby that is born clueless into the universe, many people that are currently part of the mental health system just need to be taught how to live independently without constantly having to be held down by certain “labels”. I know, because I used to be one of them. For instance, I thought I would never be able to have my own car, pay my own bills, have my own job as well as attend school simultaneously, because the system had always told me that once I was a certain way, I had to be that way for the rest of my life. The truth is though, that isn’t the case at all. I am independent, I am working towards my goals, I am making a difference in the community, and although I am still involved in minor mental health treatment, it does not run my life for me.
At one point in my life, all I knew how to live in a residential treatment facility, and all of my friends were from there. I am not saying this is bad. But, have you ever thought about what else there is out there? What you could be missing out on? What more you could be doing? I feel as though the biggest issue the young adult population faces is the fact that they are just uninformed. If they do not know that they are capable of surviving in the world because others are constantly shouting the “what ifs” at them, then they are never going to want to dare to take that next step towards independence.
Being able to transition from being at a point in your life where you are in need of constant assistance to a place in which you rely mostly on yourself for help, but also know where to reach out if you need it is a huge process. It takes time, a lot of practice, and you will definitely fail and want to give up and run for the hills along the way because you feel like “adulting” is too hard. Nevertheless, being in complete control of your life is honestly one of the best feelings I’ve ever had the joy of experiencing.
Have any of you ever experienced anything similar to this???
Luz, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I feel like I have lived a very sheltered life, having grown up in the same small town as where I reside currently. I find myself trapped in those cycles you were talking about. It’s hard to get out of them because they are so familiar and “safe”. I try so hard each day to open my mind to the world around me. I try not to be so stuck inside my own world. It’s not easy, but I think we are doing just fine!
Keep working toward your goals. You are strong and determined and you will get to exactly where you want to be!
Luz! I LOVE how to said this- it’s like those thoughts and experiences you deal with but never quite know how to verbalize- or don;t believe anyone will understand. I TOTALLY get what you are saying and have felt like that many times throughout my life. I remember when I was living in a group home and REALLY struggling with my mental health. At first people would always tell me I wasn’t “crazy”, which they said because they didn’t understand why all of this was going on and they didn’t know how to help. But it was super invalidating. Then, later, the same people told me they were afraid I was crazy and that I would succumb to my mental illness. That was devastating. From there I was fully submerged into a world where people were “beyond help”, and I, too, began to feel that I was only capable of achieving what others expected of me, which had sunken lower and lower throughout the years. Changing your expectations of yourself and realizing that there is nothing stopping you from “normalcy” through doing things such as working, going to school, living independently, and achieving your goals can be hard work but it’s important, worth it, and WE CAN DO IT!!
I myself struggled with self confidence growing up. I never thought I would be where I am today 5 years ago. I had my independence at a young age then I lost it due to drug addiction and now I am slowly getting it back. I came a long way so far and hope to keep growing as the years go by. I’m glad you’re in a better place Luz I am so proud of you. keep up the good work!
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TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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