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Taking Care of All of Me

Taking Care of All of Me Taking Care of All of Me

Vanessa Herrada, first place

“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die” — Juliette Lewis I believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. For the past couple of years, I have struggled with my mental health. I’ve been officially diagnosed with anxiety and depression. With much help and hard work, my anxiety has gotten better. I still get anxiety attacks once in a while, but it has definitely improved. My battle with depression, however, hasn’t gotten much better. I have to take medication, see psychiatrists, and I have to visit the hospital once a week so the doctors are able to check in on me. I’ve even been hospitalized due to my depression. Depression is like fighting an uphill battle; I’ve lost hope many times in the midst of the war going on inside my mind. Thoughts race through my head every day, every hour, every minute, every second, just a whirlwind of non stop howling. I hear the things that others have told me. What they say gets added to the howling and it doesn’t go away. They turn into my own thoughts. My brain is almost like an empty movie theater with the memories of awful things replaying in my mind. I remember what others have done to me, and even what I’ve done to myself. A record player, making the never-ending sound of my own thoughts that echo around the walls of the empty theater replaying terrible things over and over again. However, it isn’t all in your head; it can manifest itself physically with cuts, bruises, blood, and real battle wounds. It can even lead to death. Depression is a real, everyday struggle. It’s messy, it’s painful, it’s tearful, and overall it’s hard to deal with. I have scars on my body that may never fade. I have memories and depressive episodes that end with red, tearful eyes and a choice. A choice between life and death.

These mental illnesses have taught me a lot. I’ve realized that things do really get better. You just have to live through the struggles, the pain, and the hardships. There’s a light at the end of the dark, long tunnel. I learned that you have to persevere. Although it’s hard, you have to try. There’s a happy ending, you just have to live and get through this to see it. I learned to appreciate my life and the happy moments in it.

My law of life can be summed up to just one word. Perseverance. Perseverance can be used in a situation like mine, or even just in your everyday life. Maybe you need perseverance to just get out of bed in the morning. Others may need it to get through their entire life and see their happy ending. I’m so happy that I was able to persevere through my mental illnesses and make it to where I am today. Many things motivate me to keep going. Spending time with my family, having fun with my friends, and even smaller things like the joy of waking up early and seeing the sunrise, or all of the good books I haven’t read yet. These things and many more convince me to get through just one more day, and to get through my entire life. I know now the importance and value of perseverance, and I know that I will use it for the rest of the long life ahead of me.