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Leaning I needed Help

Leaning I needed Help

When I look back on my mental health journey, I’m so proud of myself for making the decision to go and get help. Take time and talk to a professional and learn tips, and techniques could use every day when it comes to my anxiety and self-destructive thoughts. My journey with my mental health isn’t over; it’s far from it in fact I think it’s just beginning. I hope by sharing my story I am helping those like me to go seek help. You are the most important person in the world, and you need to take care of yourself. 

I knew I struggled with mental health at a young age. How young I can’t quite pinpoint it, but I was young. By the time I was 15 I had been through a lot more than your average kid (I’ll get to that eventually). Because of this, I didn’t want to be another statistic; and I held myself to an impossibly high standard. The thing was the standard wasn’t to make me happy but more my parents. I still don’t think they know that some of their words caused me to put impossible pressure on myself. I don’t blame them at all as they just wanted what was best for me and felt that their way was best. And no, I will never tell them I’ve made peace with that part, and they don’t need to feel like they caused me so much pain and self-doubt (I am sure a part of them already knows it). Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, I don’t blame you at all everything I’ve been through brought me to this exact moment. 

One of the first signs was that I never spoke about what I would go through not just the bad things but the good things too. A lot of times because of this I failed at expressing my emotions properly. If things bothered me I ignored them; I would even go as far as not fully expressing my feelings in a relationship in the past. I also noticed that being alone led me to not always have the most positive thoughts. So, to avoid them I would keep myself as busy as possible. In my senior year of high school, I was editor-and-chief of the yearbook, captain of two varsity sports, in the IB program (International Baccalaureate Program), was in two clubs, and work almost 20 hours a week at my part-time job. By no means am I condoning it; I was plain and simple running from my own thoughts which is the worse thing you could do. In college I was no better: I played lacrosse in college would even as for 1 on 1 sessions to help me improve, worked 30 hours a week part-time, had a demanding major, and was part of a club. If all of that didn’t scream high functioning anxiety to you just yet I considered any grade below a B a failure. It took me a long time to realize I was an overachiever perfectionist when it came to me. 

Even after college I still didn’t think anything was wrong with me; I was just a functioning adult who was an overachiever and held herself to an incredibly high if not nearly impossibly high standard. (I worked 2 full-time jobs one where I would give 50+ hours a week).  It wasn’t till I started spending time alone that I realized something wasn’t right with me. Once that happened, I chalked it up to stress and needing an outlet. I did what everyone fucking does these days. I started working out aggressively (Getting up at 2 am to be at the gym by three do a full hour and a half work out so I can go home shower and be in my office by 6 am). I found “outlets” to release my stress besides working out, baking, dating, more work, travel, and a few others. Yes, all of these released my stress and still do; but at the time all they did was release the stress and relieve some of the anxiety. Doing this was only a short-term fix; what I wasn’t doing was focusing on what caused the issue, why it bothered me, and how I could correct/work on it to prevent it again. So yes, the gym/working out and having outlets is fantastic but if you never figure out what causing the issue all you are going to be doing is putting a band-aid on an on a bullet wound. 

In 2019 I got out of the most toxic, lying, and manipulative relationship I had ever been in I wasn’t heartbroken over it just completed confused as to how I let myself be put in that situation and for so long. It wasn’t long after until I was already talking to another guy romantically. I spoke about it before but on the first date, he tried to sexually assault me. After I left the date, I didn’t believe what had happened; I ended up calling one of my guy friends who were at a bachelor party to talk to him and another friend about what had happened. Even though neither of them was sober they both knew what I had gone through and assured me it wasn’t my fault. 

For weeks after it happened, I struggled with sleeping as his words “You keep saying no but you’re not stopping” echoed in my mind anytime I tried to find peace. To be clear I did; I said no I pushed his hands away I told him to stop, and I even ended the date early. But that is another story to tell. I quickly realized my health was taking a huge toll and the life I had worked so hard to create was crumbling all around me. I had always thought that therapy was one of those things that only really messed up people went to. People who either never told their parents they loved them, or people who had traumatic lives. This all probably stemmed from never talking about feelings as a child and how they are valid and how to work through them. I was terrified that I would waste all this money and never get the answers I wanted and so desperately needed. 

After my first session, I told her about the “big 4” things I had gone through, and she was shocked that it was the first time I had talked to someone. Even just saying what I had gone through felt like a weight off my shoulders. I quickly realized I wasn’t just in therapy to work on my relationship with myself but also with the people in my life currently and those who could/will come. Session after session we talked about what I had gone through, my short-term and long-term reactions. I learned about my high function anxiety and how my stress relievers were great but weren’t working because I wasn’t getting to the root of the problem. And that is what therapy has been helping me with getting to the root of the problem. From there we reviewed how important it was to acknowledge your feelings and emotions, talk about them, work on how/why they started, and easy to fix it. Often at times for me, it is as easy as saying “hey this really bothered me and I want you to hear my side of why it bothered me, and I want to hear your side so we can come up with a solution for this not to happen again”. The other times is what I’ve been working on; me getting into my head. When I get too far into my dark thoughts, I don’t even realize I am slipping into that state. That is what life is all about, working on yourself as we are all just working in progress. 

Therapy saved my life. And no by no means have I ever been or ever thought of ending my life, but I have always wanted my life to be big, filled with love, happiness, and adventure. Therapy brought all that back to me and more. I celebrate the little moments just as much as the big ones. I’m not afraid to show or express my emotions, I now enjoy my “me time”, I almost always try and find the good/positive in (almost) every situation and am able to relax when I go on vacations. By no means am I fixed. There are weeks I must have two sessions because I was such a mess, or messaged her during the week, and there are times where I have gone every other week there is no right or wrong way to be better it’s a process. One that I still have a long way to go but I’m already better than I was. 1% better than the day before. This has also helped me in all my relationships. I’m able to communicate my issues and work on solutions. Life started changing and I started to hold my head high again, carry myself with more confidence and pride. All because I felt and knew I was the best version of myself; better than I was years prior. 

You’re not weak to go sit down or virtually (I use better help) to talk to someone about your problems. I think it makes you incredibly strong to admit that you are unhappy and want change. The thing is we all run from our problems but it’s not going to be the answer to our problems. Yes, running is great, so is the gym, making art, dancing, or even going on a trip but if you don’t face the root of your problem(s) you’re never going to be fully happy. You’ll have moments of happiness, but those low points are going to be dark and lonely. Talking to friends/family I found was them giving my opinions on where they wanted my life to go as opposed to where I want to go. Growing up you went to various doctors to make sure your body is healthy, your teeth are okay, your eyes are okay, and a few other things. So why don’t we go to the doctor to make sure we mentally are okay? Far too often we are told to be mentally tough; when in reality before we can even be mentally tough, we have to be mentally okay. 

Therapy changed my life and helped me get myself together more times than I can count. So, if you are thinking about giving it a try or talking to someone please do, and even if you don’t think you should. Do it, give it 1 session or maybe 4. You are the most important person in this world; you must take care of yourself. So please do it for yourself, and if not do it for me. You deserve to live a happy full life. -KMH 


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