These past few days have been okay for me. The internship at Turning Point was a great opportunity for me, and it also allowed me to confront some of my own demons as well as helping others acknowledge theirs.
A few weeks ago, we were brainstorming ideas for a podcast and we came up with the following title: Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness. The idea was to look back on our childhoods and think about parts of them that had seemed normal at the time, but that we now realize were early symptoms of our mental illnesses. Most of the time, I am perfectly fine talking about mental illness, but this time, I felt small and lonely, just how I had felt when I was a kid. This was my first time feeling emotionally triggered by a discussion around mental illness. We recorded the podcast, and I was okay, and we all moved on. (You can find the podcast in the media room archives).
Except I had therapy last week, and I was talking to her about it, and she said, “Why do you think it made you so uncomfortable?”
I had no idea what to say. She suspected that I had some demons lurking in my subconscious, that were preventing me from comfortably talking about my mental illness growing up. So, she asked me a question that forced me to confront the demons.
“What would you say to your younger self, knowing what you know now about your mental health?
I immediately started crying. I was crying, so I don’t remember all of what I said, but here was some of it:
you have a mental illness.
you are not alone.
there’s nothing wrong with you.
it’s going to be okay.
i am crying again writing this (don’t worry they are tears of growth and self-acceptance;) ) but I got so emotional because that was exactly what I needed to hear when I was little. When I was a kid, I felt so alone, I felt like there was no one else like me in the whole world. it meant so much to comfort my younger self, to both offer and receive words of hope and healing. we often tend to be very critical of our younger selves, thinking that we didn’t like who we were at a certain time. it can be helpful to ask yourself why. forgive yourself, and heal yourself, one step at a time, just for today.