My quest to find mental health and stability has stretched over a period of years and years and years. I have no secret to happiness. I have not yet discovered all there is to know about my mental health.
And I think that’s the point.
We are each on our own separate journeys that are made up of unique twists and turns. We all have faults. We all make mistakes. But what’s important is that we
We keep going. We soldier on.
It was not an easy feat to come to terms with the fact that I live with a mental illness. It was not easy for me to first accept that my brain functioned in a different way than the “normal” teen. And it was not easy for me to accept that I live with my mental illness- my mental illness does not define me and it does not consume me.
That is a tough pill to swallow. (No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little pun intended.)
It is really, really, REALLY hard to accept who you are every single day of your life. I admire those who can and do. I admire those who have worked so hard to bring light to the fact that we are all different, we are all unique, we are all beautiful.
I have spent many days under the covers, not wanting to be a real person because I couldn’t accept who I was. I couldn’t accept that my mental illness was something I needed to learn to live with. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have just been born “normal” – without this looming black cloud that I will never be able to get rid of.
I have come to a point in my life where I have realized that I am a person living with a mental illness. My Anxiety and my Depression do not define me. I am not Olivia, mentally ill. I am not Olivia, anxious. I am not Olivia, depressed.
I am Olivia, dancer. I am Olivia, cat mom. I am Olivia, teacher. I am Olivia, sister, daughter, granddaughter, girlfriend, cousin, friend.
I am so much more than who I thought I was doomed to be because of my mental illnesses.
Today, I encourage you to look at yourself in the mirror, and be kind to you. You deserve kindness and compassion. And you deserve to know this: no one gets to decide your feelings. They are yours. They are real. They are valid.
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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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