Mental Illness: Personal Reflection

12:50

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Let’s take this day to talk about something extremely important in our day and age.
I am talking about the awareness of mental illness and how it effects people you would never think would have it.

This is not going to be a part of The Happiness Struggle series.

This is a post that is more personal, I am going to give you a small look into how tough my younger years were when it comes to school and how mental illness does truly effect even things you are desperate to achieve. A fun fact about me is that when I graduated High School I was hell bent of being an actress, more in the world of theatre but I also was always interested in acting in films. When I was 18 I got into a pretty darn good theatre program which also included doing some camera work (I think the program was actually called Stage and Studio). The program was at Capilano College which is a pretty known institute here in British Columbia, I was the youngest in the program and up until the end of the first semester I was doing really well.

But then life went down a crooked road and school was the very last thing on my mind.

At the age of 18, mid-way through my program, I had a huge amount of personal hurricanes going on in my life, I was hardly ever sleeping and I was suffering with horrible anxiety and depression. Needless to say in my second semester I was not there mentally, physically yes but even then that was a stretch. I missed a lot of classes. I let down a lot of my classmates and in the end I would spend most of my time trying to hold it together during the school days.

What bothered me the most in this time was none of my classmates or even really educators asked what was wrong. I think they simply assumed that I was being lazy or skipping which are assumptions I dealt with in high school so I really expected it. In a way I am saying I do not blame them or resent them for not asking but I did find it frustrating when they would jump down my throat because…I did not know what to say. In the end I ended up completely dropping out of the program, partially because I just couldn’t function anymore and partially because one of my facial nerves was damaged causing the right side of my face to be paralyzed. That lasted for six months.

Even though I was dealing with so many things in my life I was still hell bent on doing something about getting acting training in film. So I applied to another institution called Langara College, for their Film Stream: Acting Program. I got in, again I was the youngest and again at the beginning I was doing really well…but I think you can see where this is going.

Basically the same thing happened, anxiety, depression, and personal issues with very few people asking how I was except this time I did have a teacher suggest that I leave and come back another year. I refused because I am stubborn and was set on finishing the program. I did…but I did not do well. I always had a hard time at quitting things even when I knew I should. After high school I should have stopped and given myself a year but I did not, I threw myself into things and now I know why.

I did it because I thought the distractions would make me forget where I was mentally but that is really not how it works. The reality was high school and both college experiences were eerily similar. In all three I missed plenty of classes, in High School I missed a whole month. I let people down, people would assume I was lazy, skipping or just “sick again” without actually asking how I am. In those days, when I was in high school and those colleges which is roughly four to five years ago since I’ve left mental illness was not spoken about. Heck even when I went to a counsellor in Langara I could tell she couldn’t wrap her mind about it all.

Mental illness was taboo. If you had it you had to hide it because it made you weak.

Or a weird. Someone to not soclize with.

It has been a few years now since and in those years I have had more ups and downs. Heart breaks and frustrations but I have also learned a lot when it comes to living a positive life and the steps you need to take. Looking back in those years I was surrounded by stress and tense situations. I had friends who only ever really made me feel small and I completely lacked self-confidence. I ate horribly, drank a decent about and refused to do anything about it. I scoffed at self-love books and insisted that being positive was a stupid and pointless thing because nothing good could ever happen in my life because nothing really had but I was wrong.

Being positive is a choice, and a hard one to make when you are at rock bottom but once you do and really work at it, it can open a whole new world for you. Yes in my past I had horrible moments but I also had opportunities that I either missed out on, messed up in or simply could not do. I have made peace with the fact that my past college experiences were less then lovely. I have made peace with the fact that people could not read my mind and know to ask what is wrong because…people did not known or understand mental illness back in the day.

When I decided to start being positive and continue to work at it I have made some wonderful things happen in my life and have realized the things I really love in life.

Would I like to act again?
Sure! Why not, it is fun and I do enjoy it…if the opportunity ever came along I would accept it.

Would I change anything that has happened in my life?
No. A resounding no. I have had some undesirably terrible things happen in my life and I have accepted them. Yes they still make me sad sometimes but the reality is I would not be who I am right now if those things had not happened in my life. I would not be the woman I am now who knows who she is, what she wants and accepts her flaws rather than berating herself with them mentally.

I truly believe everything happens for a reason and you can either accept it and make the best of it that you can or let it destroy you bit by bit till all you are is negative, bitter and jaded.

My point to this post is that, mental illness is real but not everyone understands it and to assume people should it to limit yourself. Accept yourself and accept that no everyone has been in the same boat as you but you are not alone. There are many people out there in the same shoes as you and you can either stay in those muggy run down shoes or try on a new pair.
They may be a little tight, blister your feet for a while and squish your toes but eventually you will stretch them out and they will fit you like a glove. Choosing to live a positive life is the same thing. At first it is hard, you will fall off the bandwagon more the a few times but eventually you will find your bearings.

Remember that being positive is not about being happy all the time or perfect…it is about having the tools and making the choice to nurture and love yourself always and not let negative thoughts and people make you less than the amazing person you are.



Xoxo

Nicola

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3 comments

  1. Do you get enough vitamin D? Psychology Today says that higher rates of depression are due to use of sunscreen. Being Happy in an Unhappy World. http://bit.ly/b-happy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a pretty random comment...but no...my depression had nothing to do with vitamin D. Regards :)

      Delete
  2. You have a lot of wisdom. You are strong. You'll be just fine <3

    ReplyDelete

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thelovelytwentysomethings.com is owned and run by Nicola Mora