In light of the recent passing of Robin Williams, I am reminded of the darkness that overpowers people.
The non-profit movement To Write Love On Her Arms introduced the motto “We will be the hopeful” to me at Warped Tour. TWLOHA has a vision to provide encouragement and inspiration for those who struggle with depression, self-injury, addiction and suicide.
I can’t come out and declare that I have suffered from depression, but I do know I have spent the majority of my life suffering from high-stress and high-anxiety levels. It became evident to me in high school. For a long stretch of time, I was exhausted, unable to sleep well, negative, stressed and had low self-esteem. To others, I seemed fine. I had perfect grades, was involved in extra-curricular activities and for the most part seemed like a happy person. On the inside, my mind was plagued by overthinking and the mentality that no matter how well I seemed to be doing, I wasn’t good enough.
I’d be wide awake in my bed at night wondering if I’d ever be good enough. If I would be able to achieve my dreams. If a boy would ever like me. If I would end up alone. If I would be able to stay interesting enough to maintain friends. If any one would care if one day I just left.
One day my mom noticed I was overtly struggling with life. She said, “Do you want to see a therapist?” The word therapist snapped me back to reality. The reality that made me realize that life is difficult, but there are ways to rise above it. You see, back then I always thought therapists were for people with real clinical problems. Really messed up people. I didn’t want to be categorized as one of those people. Of course, now I realize therapists are for any kind of person with any kind of issue, big or small, and that seeing one is nothing to be ashamed about. But back then, the fear of going to one was enough for me to reevaluate my situation, my way of thinking and my approach for dealing with life. With every shadow of darkness, there is a silver lining.
While I still deal with stress and anxiety as a 22-year-old, both in professional and social settings, I am a much more positive person and have gained confidence. One way I maintain this mentality is by influencing others to be happy and positive. Inspiring others inspires me. I have a fortunate life. I am surrounded by a wonderful family, wonderful friends and a wonderful network. I’ve experienced so many incredible adventures and opportunities.
I am thankful. I am hopeful. I hope you are too.
I leave you with one of my favorite Robin William quotes:
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change this world.” –Dead Poets Society