I used to take my mental health for granted, until it wasn’t in such great shape. I think often we take things for granted until they are gone.
It wasn’t that my happiness just all of a sudden disappeared one day. I was generally quite a happy kid, but over the years I began to lose myself.
Anxiety and depression kicked in full force in college when I was applying to medical school. Expectations, trying to chase societal definitions of success, stifling myself and who I really was in order to pursue what I perceived as a noble profession had me under considerable demands and pressure.
I sidestepped my own health, pushed past my own limits and coped in terrible ways. I binged in just about every way possible. I binge ate my feelings away. I binged on alcohol after every big test, exam, application. I binged on TV and napping to escape my reality and unhappiness.
It wasn’t until my mental health had been crippled to the point that it was hard to keep up the facade anymore in residency that I realized I had to stop doing this to myself. I had to stop the silence, the self-torture and suppressing my true feelings.
The past 3 years have not always been the easiest, but being guided by what is best for my physical and mental health has led me to so much personal growth. Instead of minimizing myself for others sake, I realize that I need to take care of myself so that I can actually show up in the world authentically, which is all we can truly hope and ask for from anyone!
(For those who don’t know… I am doing “30 days to 30” and sharing life lessons and stories in order to celebrate my birthday—hoping to break stigmas and stereotypes about what 30 means and looks like)