Samantha: Healing is difficult, not impossible

The views and opinions expressed in the following story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mental Health Colorado.

By: Samantha Nichole

My name is Samantha. I am 30 years old.

I always tell people that going to therapy is one of the top best three decisions I have done for myself, next to getting a divorce and Lasik.

I have dealt with anger issues since I was about 16, depression since I was about 9, and anxiety for as long as I can remember. When I was 13, I told my mom I wanted to speak with a therapist. I have been in and out of therapy since then (currently in it). I was diagnosed with mild bipolar disorder at 22.

For the longest time other people around me labeled me and I labeled myself as “I am an angry person” “I am a depressed person” and “I am an anxious person. ” I never thought I’d escape.

I was raised with the mentality of “if you don’t like it, change it. If you’re not going to change it, don’t complain about it.” Sort of a spin on the serenity prayer, haha! Which is why I sought out therapy at 13 years old. I didn’t hate being alive, in fact I wanted nothing more than to thrive, I just hated the way my life currently was.

After many years of introspection, I finally came to realize those emotions were not what identified me. They were glasses of perception. I may have worn these glasses for a long time but I am NOT them and they are not me. I am Samantha who feels depressed, anxious, or angry; sometimes more often than most. And although these emotions are still extremely prominent in my life, I now allow myself to be human and feel what needs to be felt, but I know when to take back control.

Emotions are our brain’s way of trying to protect us from danger. Developing an open and honest relationship with myself was key. By being fully and completely honest with myself allowed me to pinpoint certain traumas in my life that dictated my current emotions.  Meditation and reading books on stoicism have helped me gain control of my emotions. Even reading quotes from nihilist philosophers, people with the “it is what it is” mentality, have helped me tremendously. Be in the moment!

When I was younger, I had no one to talk to about these sorts of things. I try to use social media now as a way to #EndTheStigma towards needing mental help and mental health. I think going to therapy should be just as normal as going to the gym. I believe it would resolve many of the issues we see today.

Having said all this, I am a constant work in progress. I don’t feel my work battling these emotions will ever be done. That doesn’t mean I won’t strive for it. And in this continued journey I will help as many people along the way that I can.

I will leave you with this:

Healing is difficult, not impossible. Mental health is difficult because you cannot show someone the issue. It is difficult for people to understand especially if they have never been in your shoes. But even so, don’t let anyone tell you how you feel about a situation. Your feelings are valid and they are real. Express your emotions, suppression will only cause more pain. The only way out is through. Stop looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, the light is within yourself. You are not alone. You are so loved. Thank you for taking the time to read this excerpt of my life. ❤