I am 26 years old and live in a small town in Georgia. Life circumstances have proven to be somewhat of a bully. For many reasons, high school and middle school did not prove to be a positive memory. Family and personal issues became the routine for my life. At a young age, I learned what it was like to have very poor or no self-esteem. I hated myself even as a child. I was told by certain people who were supposed to love and support me that I was fat, wouldn’t find anyone, and had to stand on scales every day. At 15 I was even told that at 5’3 if I didn’t weigh 100 lbs or less, I wasn’t small enough. This led to an eating disorder, contributed to depression, and added to anxiety that I had since I was little. For many years I have hurt myself with words, thoughts, and allowed others to do the same to me. I have had a very difficult time feeling as though I am good at anything, that I am acceptable on the inside and out, and that my best is good enough. However, I have chosen to fight, to not let this exhausting, frustrating, disheartening obstacle win. The singer Mandisa says it best to me…
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer.”
For me, my faith has kept me going. I have some physical attributes that contribute to things also, but in the end…I am keeping faith. I am in graduate school working to become a counselor. I eventually want to be able to speak and share my story. I know what mental illness can do to someone…what it does to you when medicine just won’t help, what crying yourself to sleep most nights really means, and the impact of what being lonely and afraid feels like. I hope to give back to people who are struggling in unseen ways, the ones who put on a mask every day, the ones who try to please everyone else and others words and actions impacting them even years later.
I want to be able to let others know that they are not weak, even when you are told it so many times, that you are worthy of feeling love, and that you can do this. You are not alone, even when you feel as if you are in a well and it’s so deep you barely see the tiny light above you, but help never comes. While I still struggle and have to try and manage it carefully, it has made me who I am and more empathetic to others. Hospital stays, racing thoughts, low self-esteem, crying nights… all have played a role in my life, but it does not define me. I am here to say you can do this!!!