October Reflections

by - 2:09 PM

At the beginning of this year, I decided that one of my resolutions would be to let myself be vulnerable. I'm not trying to sound like a baby boomer, but I think a large issue millennials have is that they only show the best parts of themselves on social media, which can cause people to feel as though they're messing up or falling behind in comparison. I definitely understand that everyone's probably going through something and that what people share on social media isn't real, and I know I'm guilty of this too, but all I want is more... transparency? I want to be an honest, unpretentious person.

These last six or so months for me have been really hard. I'm not sure if there's exactly a cause -- it was a time of transition, a horrible job, and taking hormonal birth control all at once, maybe, but somehow I ended up dealing with really bad anxiety and depression. Every time I commuted to work, I was terrified of either being killed by someone on the train or the train crashing or other catastrophes. Sometimes I was late because I had to get off the train because I was so scared. A lot of times I would cry on the train or in the bathroom at work because I felt so much dread about something I had no idea how to name. I thought a lot of this was normal, and I was scared of bothering anyone, so I didn't say anything for a long time. At one point I felt unceasing despair on a daily basis, and I knew I had to tell someone because I couldn't handle doing anything. My family and my boyfriend and my friends were so helpful, and since then, things have been improving. I'm still dealing with anxiety and depression, but it's getting better.

Because of that I realized that in the past, I haven't been kind or caring and I always thought I was better than everyone else. People are so good and important and everyone just wants love and compassion, and I've honestly been really mean. I don't want to be the kind of person who looks down on others because I'm trying to be cool or something... I want to treat everyone, and myself, with tenderness.

I started this blog earlier this year when I was in a different place, and I wanted to share my thoughts on fashion, music, etc. because I thought that having a good taste in things like that was the most defining thing about me, and right now, I don't think that. I know I'm cool and interesting and fashionable, but I want this to be a public space where I can share things that are closer to my heart.

I've talked to friends on my private social media sites about a lot of these issues, and hearing their kind words of support and understanding has been so helpful. Even reading about their similar experiences has helped me feel not so alone. One of the worst things about mental illness in my experience is how isolating it is -- you get scared that people won't like you if you're your sad self so you stay away or don't let anyone know what's wrong. Or you get scared that everyone actually dislikes you and wants to laugh at you. Or you just feel like no one could ever understand what's happening to you because you're different and unfixable. I hope if you feel like that and you're reading this, you know that you aren't alone and that there are people who want to help you and know what it's like. In the future, I hope to become strong enough to help others get through what I'm going through at the moment, but for now, I hope that sharing my experience might be enough to comfort someone.

These last two weeks, I've started going to group therapy. At first I felt really ashamed and embarrassed about it because I didn't want people to think I was weird, but it's honestly been a huge help and I understand now that wanting to get better isn't something to be ashamed about. Last night, we did an exercise where we selected our top five values from a list of 30 or so, and mine were caring, family happiness, friendship, health, and helping society. I didn't think much about selecting those because that's truly what I value the most, but after sharing my answers I felt very touched by how the group responded and by what the therapist later said: "We change each other by being ourselves." Even if sometimes I don't think there's anything remarkable or special about me, I can still have a positive impact on others just the way I am.

The values exercise really helped me figure out some things, so I'll try to create a document that I can share explaining the exercise and have that up soon! I hope you have a nice day and that this is somehow helpful to you!

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