“Sometimes, I catch myself smiling at the mere thought of you. More and more I can see myself changing and it’s all for the better. That’s what good people do. They heal you.”
Before I knew my worth, I was drawn to toxic friends. I would cling on to old friendships for the glorified memories rather than the truth. I was afraid to let go because if I did, where would I turn to? I thought that maybe it was better to stay safe. Only the the truth is that these people were toxic to me. They were unhappy with themselves and so they chose to inflict the same feelings upon me; they would take advantage of me for my kindness and manipulate my emotions.In time where I did not know that I deserved better, I chose people who did not choose me.
I urge you to be courageous and let go of these toxic, manipulative relationships. It is one of the hardest things for you to let go of people you have known for so long. We tend to look back at the few good times, but we can’t forget the times when they were not there for us. Letting go of unhealthy relationships a step we all must take if we ever wish to rise above.
Let go. Choosing to surround myself with positive people was the best choice I have ever made. I can now say that I have friends who are always there, support me, and want nothing but the best for me. You deserve it, too.
We can not continue to let the stigma around mental illnesses put the health of ourselves others at risk.
We are afraid to discuss mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and more simply because we are afraid. We are afraid because it is out of our comfort zones; after all, it is intimidating to open up about such a personal topic. Except how long will we shy away from such a prevalent issue in our society?
Throughout the last few months, two students in my town committed suicide. After a student of our own passed away, we were handed out yellow ribbons to wear for support. Some students pinned them to their shirts, while others discarded them, throwing them away or mindlessly placing them in their pockets. We hung up posters during our home football and soccer games and painted his name for everyone to see. The teachers and school administrators reached out to the students, asking us a series of questions in hopes that they would understand why he chose to take his life. While this unity is important, it is short lived. Weeks later the unity dissolves and we are back to where we started.
The problem is, even after the funerals, and the grieving, and the goodbyes, the problem is still here. Discussing suicide after it happens is similar to teaching someone how to drive after they get into a car accident: it will never prevent the accident. In our society, there is such a strong stigma around mental illnesses that we are afraid to speak up. No one ever wishes to talk about real problems because it is not in our comfort zones. Discussing mental illnesses is difficult, but if we never discuss the reality of suicide we can never heal. We can not let our memories of these students fade away. They are reminders that we lost two precious lives due to suicide.
Many teenagers today do not open up about their health because they do not wish to be labeled. Teenagers are left in the dark, alone, without knowing where to turn. If we continuously ignore the important of mental health, we risk losing lives due to suicide again. Life is unpredictable.
Together, we all must show support to one another. We must prove that we can fight against this. We can no longer let depression, anxiety, or any mental illness define who we are. We are all so much more. We must solve this problem one step at a time and raise awareness. By doing this, we can truly save lives.