“You could have been getting down to this sick beat.”

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I’ve already bragged to my dad; but I’m still going to brag in here as well. In September, I’m trying medication as a new approach to ease my mental troubles. I’m wary about it for a variety of reasons, but I’ve come around to the notion that medication might just be another piece of the puzzle in my self-care. I’m open when it comes to talking about my problems; but the stigma attached to mental illness causes great fear when it comes to solving them with medication. But, I’m on a journey, and I’m going to share all of it. I also told him that after my brief hiatus, I’m returning to weight lifting. Unsurprisingly, “hey dad, I’m going to do squats and bench presses again,” got a lot more of a positive response than, “hey dad, I’m going to attempt to cure my chronic depression with medication!”, but that’s just because my dad really loves bonding over hard workouts with me.

My depression is cyclical, so I go through periods of extreme lows followed by times when I feel like myself again. Instead of dreading the next low, I’m trying to challenge myself to be more passionate, more driven, more connected, more engaged, more open during the positive time. I’m feeling extremely empowered and liberated by my decision to leave work early, rather than to stick it out until school starts. I’ve mentioned this before, but I work in an incredibly toxic environment. Work is certainly not the only beast to blame for my troubles; but it’s a stress factor that has had a compounding negative effect on me over the past three years. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a financial position to make the decision to leave this environment. I’m able to place my mental health first on the priority scale, ahead of finances, and I’m very much aware that not everyone is in a place to make the same decision.

I’m also surrounded by an incredible support network of people who really, really love me; people who are willing to do anything (within some reason) to ensure that I get better. With each negative cycle, I work my hardest to push them away, to unburden them from my troubles, and each time, they continue to help me grow stronger, grow happier, grow into the person I want to be, reminding me that I don’t ever have to fight alone.