In a world where we often emphasize the pursuit of a fulfilling life, it is disheartening to witness the struggles that lie beneath the surface for many individuals. We find ourselves battling inner demons, unable to share our pain due to the fear of judgment and concerns about how others may perceive us.
As a member of Generation Z, I once questioned why my peers were discussing their battles with depression and mental health issues at such a young age. Little did I know, I would soon experience my breakdown, forever altering my perspective. In this article, I invite you into my journey of navigating mental health challenges and the importance of speaking up without fear or shame.
Growing up, I excelled academically, often being recognized as the best in class. I was known for my public speaking skills and prowess in mathematics. People saw me as the one destined for success, and I believed it too. Even in high school, where I wasn’t always the best, I maintained a reputation as one of the top students. However, amidst the achievements and high expectations, a different reality was unfolding within me.
Entering college, the pressure to live up to my perceived success became overwhelming. The constant need to prove myself and meet the expectations others had set for me took its toll. I found myself caught in a cycle of perfectionism, always striving for more but never feeling truly satisfied with my accomplishments.
Beneath the surface, a storm was raging. Overwhelming anxiety, self-doubt, and a deep sense of emptiness consumed me. I battled my own thoughts and emotions, but I couldn’t find the strength to voice them. As I observed my peers bravely sharing their mental health struggles, I remained silent, trapped by the fear of judgment and the belief that admitting weakness would tarnish the image others had of me.
One day, the weight of my internal battles became unbearable. I found myself in a state of breakdown, crying myself to sleep without fully understanding the reasons behind my emotional turmoil. It was in that vulnerable moment that I realized I could no longer continue down this path.
Fear and shame could no longer dictate my life. I needed to find the courage to speak up, seek help, and confront my inner demons.
Summoning every ounce of courage, I confided in a trusted friend who had shown empathy and understanding in the past. Opening up about my struggles was incredibly difficult, but the moment I did, a wave of relief washed over me. My friend listened without judgment, offering unwavering support and reassurance. That was the first step on my path to healing.
Through my own experiences, I have come to understand that mental health challenges do not discriminate based on external achievements or perceived success. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help or to share what’s happening within. It takes immense strength and bravery to acknowledge our vulnerabilities and actively seek support.
Since then, I have embarked on a journey of self-discovery and self-care. I have surrounded myself with a supportive network of friends and loved ones who prioritize mental well-being. Together, we explore the depths of our souls, nurturing our emotional and mental health.
When we say “life is for the living,” we recognize that true living encompasses more than mere physical existence. It involves finding joy, purpose, and inner peace. It means acknowledging our struggles, seeking help when needed, and creating a safe space for open conversations about mental health.
Article by Yvonne Gitonga, Intern-AMWIK.