I thought long and hard about sending this in, but realized that we're all here for the same thing. We want peace within ourselves. We want a reminder of the beauty in life. We want to feel hope for the future. It's been a year since I was first diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, which spiraled into a dark state of depression. I questioned what the meaning of life and why am I here to live it for years but it finally all caught up to me. Shockingly I feel as if I've lived more in the past year than my other 18 years of life. Growing up in a household where my parents are still married, surrounded by two wonderful siblings, being raised in church and being a straight A student, I felt like I couldn't be sad, because I had the perfect life, except I was. And it only made me more upset to look around and realize the smile I've been hiding behind, became simply a face and no longer had any feeling attached to it. I struggled with self esteem, self worth, loving myself, being okay with my surroundings, and learning how to enjoy life. My mental disorders took over my life. The simple chemical imbalance in my brain, altered my life for what seemed like would be forever. Which made me not want to live at all. Through my journey I've come to realize that although there might not be some simple answer to why we all have a life, it's a much larger picture. We're here to love, laugh, see the wonderful beauties in the world like mountains, waterfalls, sunsets, as well as the kiss between two lovers when one gets off a plane and is returning from war, the experience happy tears that fall down your face from laughing too hard with friends. We're here to hear the stories of others and grow together supporting one another. We're here to experience life since we were given it. Not get caught up in the logistics and live in a state of worrying ourself sick. Not to get caught up in the unknown of the future because it will happen and we can get through anything that comes our way. Having hope for the future is the first key thing in anyone's path to recovery. I won't lie; I still feel the need to throw up when I've ate a full plate of dinner, I still cry sometimes at night when I'm sad thinking about life, and I still have panic attacks after the struggles of life have overwhelmed me. But I know that my doctors never gave up on me after changing my meds 7 times until we've perfected them and I felt okay with myself. I know my sister doesn't wake up and hug me everyday for her own want as much as it is my own need. I know my mom and dad never stopped holding me as I cried at night and woke up mid panic attack for me to one day decide that I've had enough. Everyone else believes in me and it was time I needed to start believing in myself. That's one of the key points on what life is about. Through this, I know my journey of life is far from over and it's all because I chose for it to continue on. 

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Bailey  

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