I Refuse to Sink

thumbMental illness has been something I’ve struggled with for the majority of my adulthood and more prominently during my childhood. However, I feel as though I’ve improved immensely regarding my self esteem, relationships with loved ones (and even not-so-loved ones), overall temperament and outlook on life. The way that I began to see myself as worthy and whole, and was able to conquer the majority of my depression and insecurities is when I stopped looking to others for validation and approval.

I realized slowly, and after years of intensive therapy, that only I am capable of making myself happy. The key to happiness and high self esteem (in my opinion) is introspection, self-reflection, and the ability to develop a sense of autonomy. It comes with patience and practice. It comes with listening to your conscience. Lastly, it comes with knowing and truly believing that eventually, everything will work out in your favor.

My initial diagnosis for several years was bipolar disorder with psychotic features. I was treated and medicated for said diagnosis aggressively, only to be disappointed by the continuous regression of my emotional stability. After being hospitalized several times for impulsive and self-injurious behaviors, I was connected to a new psychiatrist who presented the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, which seemed to fit my array of symptoms a lot more accurately than bipolar disorder. After being weaned off of a significant amount of medication I was taking for bipolar and being put on a low dose of an antidepressant, I began to feel relief from much of my symptoms and was finally in a place to be able to practice coping skills and self esteem exercises that my therapist had suggested.

I am now planning on attending college in the fall and have a part time job. I keep myself mentally healthy and stable by going to therapy every week and being an active participant during every session, writing and journaling, exercising several times a week, practicing distress tolerance and mindfulness, and most importantly, realizing I am human and no human being on this planet is perfect. There will be times where I need to reach out for help, and that is completely okay.

Nina is a working college student who hopes someday to work in the mental health field. She lives with her amazing, supportive mom and loves taking trips to the beach.

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