On one hand, I have my hang ups, my flaws, my setbacks. I have meltdowns. I have times anxiety hits me like a brick. Life isn’t perfect and neither am I. But I have worked on accepting these facts, although admittedly the former is easier than the latter. My challenge currently is taking my jobs, reminding myself that I can make a difference, and identifying then taking the steps necessary to make that difference. The truth is that while I am thrilled to have come so far in my own life, it has taken a lot of energy and continues to. One of the ways I cope and feel a sense of purpose is my work, which takes energy. I have to remind myself of what I can do to be most helpful in my work then take my energy and actually do it. Sometimes, I question if I am doing enough. I wonder if I need to do more research, provide more resources, or discuss more coping skills with the folks I work with. When I think this way, it’s hard to know if it is my anxiety or the truth that is speaking. This is the debate I have been having with myself recently. Yet, I know that in spite of these internal struggles that I am a living, breathing, success story.
On the other hand, I am amazed and grateful to look how far I have come. I am incredibly blessed in multiple ways. I love being able to work as a counselor. I get to be a listening ear. At times, I know that I do make a difference in someone’s life. It is incredible to go from having times where you have been in the grips of anxiety and depression, where you felt consumed, trapped, in a seemingly inescapable mental hell to living a life that has moments of happiness and joy, a life of functioning, of thriving. The full grip of mental disorders, depression in particular, feels like a distant memory. I know that in spite of the occasional flare ups, that I am no longer consumed and am now able to be of help to others. I am a living, breathing, success story.
I have learned that experiencing clinical anxiety and depression does not have to mean a life of misery. Things can get better. Treatment can actually work. It has not always been an easy process. And I wouldn’t necessarily say they are completely gone, especially the anxiety. But I am able to live without a black cloud over my head. I did not succumb to the bleak prognosis “meager chance at happiness”. I am a living, breathing success story.