What do I celebrate about my mental health? I see this as a question with more than one answer. I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I remember. When I was younger, I didn't really know how to explain it. For me growing up with the way I was feeling was a huge question mark. I didn’t know what it was when I would get anxiety attacks. I felt truly lost. I would try to explain to people how I felt but no one seemed to have the same experience or feelings which made me feel even more confused. I finally found a name for it when I was in high school but I still struggled. My mom and family tried to be supportive but they also didn’t know what to do and therapy or medication wasn’t even on the radar.  

When I was in college I started seeing someone and that truly helped. I was able to go on medication a few years later. I find that there is a lot to celebrate about my mental health and the long road that has brought me to where I am now. The pride I take in myself is my most notable celebration point. I am so proud of how much I have learned about myself and how open and honest I am with myself about what I need.  For me, one of the most positive things about having anxiety has been finding myself and finding who I really am - and really appreciating that. The effects of the anxiety might be negative but if I didn't have that, I would have never learned what I did about myself, what I need to be happy and what I want to be happy.

I would have been pushed enough to maybe do that or I wouldn't have been driven enough to ask: what do I really need? You need to find it and push yourself. When I am feeling anxiety and or depression I never know how it will hit me, but I do know that there are things I can do to help myself.  Sometimes I need to go to the gym. Sometimes it’s watching a movie. No matter what I need, I know myself enough to say: yeah I’ll get through this and this is how. That is something I never thought I would feel and a point I never thought I would get to.

I am also not ashamed about what my mental health has taught me and I try very hard to celebrate that. I am never ashamed or shy to say that I struggle with anxiety and depression. I am not ashamed to say that I take medication or that I talk to someone. I celebrate the fact that I am open and honest about how I am affected by anxiety. I hope that by being open I can help people realize that they are not alone and that there are so many reasons to embrace their mental health. My path has taught me so much and I keep learning as I go. Loving myself for who I am and how my mind works is something to celebrate everyday and I am so glad I finally see it, and finally see myself.

I celebrate: the strength to my weakness - who I am. Love your weaknesses even though it's the scariest thing you'll ever face.