Behind Mia's Mind

  

     People always tell me I seem to have it all together. But the truth is, I really, really don’t. I struggle every day. I struggle to get myself out of bed, to keep my head up, to engage in conversations when my mind is somewhere else. Some days are good, but the bad days are bad. I’ve pushed people away. I’ve even pushed myself away. It feels like I’m constantly having a battle with my own brain. This is what my depression and anxiety feels like.

I’ve been struggling since high school, but in April of this year, I reached my lowest point and I couldn’t even explain why. It just hit me like a wave and I couldn’t keep my head above water. I also developed the worst social anxiety I had ever experienced. It made me scared to go to school most days and talk to people I used to hang out with on a regular basis. It prevented me from going to most social outings. It had me questioning my personal relationships and future career, and had me asking, “God, why am I like this?” I just didn’t want to be here anymore.

I admit I’ve been advocating for mental health the past few years, yet I wasn’t taking control over my own. The first time I sought professional help a couple years ago, I was told everyone gets sad and that it’s normal to feel that way. It discouraged me in so many ways, so I stopped looking for help. But this year, I decided to give it another shot with the encouragement of my support system, and I wish I had done it sooner.

It was the most exhausting summer of my life. I’ve almost been to the doctor more times this year than I have in my whole life, talking about my thoughts and feelings, deciding if medication was right for me, and following up each time. But I can now say I’m definitely in a better state than I was back then. I’m not saying that medication is the answer, but making that first step to seek help is. I’m not perfect - no one is! But I’m a work in progress. It’s hard and it takes time, but once you make the first move, it make a whole lot of difference.

My favourite thing to do for mental wellness is getting a breath of fresh air and immersing myself in nature. I also like going on outdoor runs, creating mood playlists, and playing with my fluffy Siberian cat, Sage!

The scary thing about mental illnesses is that they’re invisible. You can’t see when someone is struggling, and the ones struggling can’t see when it’s coming. Creating awareness and helping others take charge is an important step to helping those who live with mental illness, and I hope I can contribute to this movement.

 

Mia C.

Mississauga, Ontario

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