“You are the star of a movie. This is the part of the movie where you get your heart broken. Where the world tests you, and people treat you like shit. But it has to happen this way. Otherwise, the end of the movie, when you get everything you want, won’t feel as rewarding. There are assholes out there, but in the end, they don’t matter. Because this movie’s not about them. It’s never been about them. All this time, the movie’s been about you.”
Life has not always been kind to me, that I realized late 2016 and all of last year. I entered a new school with a lot of anxiousness since I was a new kid. At the time I thought it was just something that new students feel when entering a new school, but this was different. I couldn’t seem to make solid friends because everyone else has already established their friendship circle so I often ate lunch alone. I enjoyed it for a while but there comes a time when you crave having other people around. I worked on doing that, making friends even if it’s not long-term, even if it’s just as simple as having somebody to sit with during class. But during that time that I was getting better, I lost someone who I really cared for. Nothing like death or whatever, just that we stopped being friends just like *that*. I beat myself up over it (and still do sometimes) asking myself if it was something I did or if I wasn’t good enough or if I became a toxic person to them. I don’t know the answers to those questions still, and so that entire situation pulled me into a deep, deep pit of self pity and self hatred. I hated myself because I never understood why it happened the way it did, or if I had any fault in what took place. But I started meeting new people and getting close to some and I eventually started feeling better about myself again.
Then last year was… rough. I don’t want to go into too much detail about that because I no longer want to think about it. But what happened last year took such a toll on me that I was pulled down to the pit again, even deeper this time. So many months were spent sulking and wallowing in self pity and self hatred at the same time. I couldn’t figure out why relationships never worked for me and why it is that when I start establishing new relationships and becoming happy again, something bad has to happen and if it was as if I wasn’t allowed to feel good. I started thinking that maybe I was the problem. That maybe I’m just not meant to make friends or be involved with other people. That made sense to me because I’m an only child and have been alone most of my life, so I always felt that I had to be independent and do things on my own. There were days when getting out of bed was difficult. Days where I didn’t eat and days when I ate too much. Days spent crying in the shower beating myself up over things I couldn’t control. Days where I never slept, and days where I slept too much. Days that getting out of my room became a task. Days that I felt like my body wasn’t my body and that I was just a person in charge of navigating it but didn’t know exactly how. Days spent dissociating in class and zoning out. I knew that I wanted to stop feeling that way, so I tried my hardest to feel better.
Late last year I started getting close to more people and meeting people who make me feel better about myself and about the world. People who put a smile on my face. People who don’t make me feel like I’m less than them. I got closer to people who I didn’t even think I’d get close to. I met people who understood what I was feeling and people who knew how it’s like to feel that way. And they helped me feel better and happier.
I can honestly say that I’m a lot happier now and a lot more confident in myself. I’m not necessarily good with my self-esteem just yet but I will get there. There are days when I still question whether I’m actually happy or if I’m just distracted from the sadness that weighed on me for the longest time. I still get sad and depressed from time to time, but I’m glad and thankful that it isn’t as often as before.
I don’t know why bad things happen in life, but I do know that it’s possible to get through them. I don’t know if I’ve fully recovered, but I do know that I am a lot happier now. There are things in life, situations even, that have to happen before we get to where we need to be, and I’ve learned to be grateful for the bad things that had happened to me because I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for them.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with people who make you happy. Hang out with people who make you laugh and people who put a genuine smile on your face. I’m still working on being more open about myself, but I recommend talking to people about your problems. There’s always going to be somebody willing to listen – a friend, a family member, maybe even a stranger. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up, write, it’s what I do. Write what bothers you, what angers you, what you feel. If you want you can crumple it up after and throw it in the trash. Just understand how vital it is to talk and how important it is that you don’t keep to yourself.
Talking about myself, as surprising as it may be (LOL), is not my greatest forte. I don’t really know what I’m good at or what I’m passionate about. When I have problems, I don’t open up about it, and that’s a really big flaw of mine. I hated knowing that other people have problems on their own, and the thought that by me telling them or venting to them, I may be adding to the burden they already have to carry. I’ve always been scared of telling people how I feel even if it’s a good feeling because I feared that they might laugh it off or hold it against me. I hated being vulnerable and looking weak. I still do.
So to whoever reads this, I want you to know how important it is that you talk to someone about how you feel and what you’re going through. Nobody on this earth should ever feel like they’re going through life alone. Ask for help or guidance. There is no need to be ashamed of how you feel because your feelings are valid and so are you. You are more than the struggles that you’re facing and the problems and demons that you deal with. Your path to improvement is not going to be like everyone else’s and that’s okay because you are still going to get there. Healing is not linear, remember that. There are times when you will slip up and maybe even fall but keep working on yourself and keep trying to get better. Your mental health should be prioritized above anything else.
And for the others, allow yourself to offer a helping hand. Support and help doesn’t always mean that you have to give somebody advice. It’s not always telling someone “things will get better” because I know from experience how annoying unconditional optimism can be. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate it, but sometimes just being able to validate somebody’s feelings is enough. People who are sad don’t always need a pep talk. Sometimes it’s enough to just tell them, “hey, I understand you’re sad and you are trying your best and I’m here for you”. Learn to listen and understand. Don’t invalidate the feelings of others just because you can’t relate to it.
I’m thankful a day like #BellLetsTalk exists where we can put the spotlight on mental health and bring awareness to it. We are all affected by it, some more than others. And it’s only when we understand that and when we help eachother, that we can move forward and live a better and healthier life. Mental health is no joke, suffering from it isn’t either. Life can be shit, we all know that, but we can make eachother and this planet a better place if we listen, understand, and support one another. Life will throw you a shit ton of curve balls, it’s scary, but if you believe that you can be better and you want to be better, it can be so.
In the wise words of Michelle Eileen McNamara (1970-2016): “It’s chaos; be kind.”