If you're struggling with mental health, this message is for you
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to reducing stigma, raising awareness, and supporting those who are facing mental health challenges. For those of you who are currently struggling with mental illness, I want to share a few messages with you. In a way, these are messages to my past self, who found herself sitting on a cold bathroom floor in the middle of the night, crying quietly so as not to wake up her baby and husband. But if you're struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or trauma, these messages are also for you.
I'm one of 50 million Americans who struggle with mental health
My name is Joohi, and like 50 million other Americans, I have struggled with my mental health. For years, depression and anxiety have been my constant companions. But there was a period that felt especially dark and overwhelming. It lasted about seven years, during which I was raising two young children while working high-stress jobs. I was sleep-deprived, always on edge worrying something bad would happen to my baby, and constantly working long hours. Despite all this, I felt undervalued and unfulfilled at work, while also feeling like a failure as a parent. It was a grind with no sense of purpose or joy.
In this blog series, I'll be sharing messages to my past self and anyone who feel lost in darkness
Fast forward to today, and I am in a much better place. While my dark days still come back from time to time, I have built a strong set of skills and a support system that helps me get through those moments. I have better relationships with myself, my family, and the world around me.
As I reflect on those seven years, I want to share some messages with anyone who feels lost in darkness.
#1 message to my past self: You're always worthy and enough
First and foremost, you are always worthy and enough, regardless of whether you have a mental illness. I used to feel broken or defective, like something was missing in me, such as a happiness gene, and that I wasn't allowed to be happy. As a mother, I was terrified that I had passed on a "bad gene" to my children, making them unhappy just by bringing them into this world. My battle with depression and anxiety was worsened by self-hatred, shame, and guilt. I already felt bad, and felt even worse for feeling bad.
Accepting and loving yourself is the very foundation of your healing
I turned a corner only when I accepted myself for who I was. Instead of running away from myself, instead of hating myself, I took off the mast and faced myself in the mirror. What I saw was far from perfect. It wasn't the image of a loving mom or a successful career woman that I wanted to be. Instead, I was tired, hurt, sad, angry, and hopeless.
But I decided that despite my flaws, imperfections, and struggles, I was still worthy of my own love. I deserved a hug from myself and kind words from myself. I owed myself to be honest with myself, be honest about what I really want in my life and what makes me happy. In order for me to keep going, I had to be on my own side.
It was only then that I had the courage to get help. It was only then that I had the hope of seeing the sun again.
You're not meant to be perfect. You're not meant to be like anyone else.
So if you're struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, or any other issues, remember that you are always, always, always worthy and enough. You're not meant to be perfect; you're a work in progress, constantly learning and growing. You're not meant to be like anyone else; you're meant to find and develop your own color and light up the world in your own way.
So, give yourself love, lots and lots of love every day.
That’s it for today. I’ll see you again next time with another message.