While I've always been a fierce advocate for mental health awareness and self-care, I've hidden my own personal battle behind a curtain of fear, self-doubt, and embarrassment.

While I've always been a fierce advocate for mental health awareness and self-care, I've hidden my own personal battle behind a curtain of fear, self-doubt, and embarrassment. A little over a year ago I decided I wanted to stop taking the medication that was managing my anxiety and depression. I was in a love/hate relationship with the test and retest of various SSRIs that I had battled for nearly 7 years as well as the unpredictable side effects associated with each. My life seemed to be in a great place to put an end to this constant battle. Under the supervision of my primary care physician, I began the process of tapering off my medications and was met with immediate resistance. I was having anxiety attacks in karaoke bars and at concerts, lashing out at friends for simply being happier than I was. My selfish desire to live free of medication impacted everyone around me. During this time my boyfriend left me, unable to handle what I had become and the unpredictability of my mental state. It wasn't until I hit this rock bottom that I finally addressed my mental health needs appropriately. Rather than seeing a primary care provider, I began seeing a psychiatrist for medication management; assessing options for treatment that presented less aggressive side effects. I returned to a therapist on a regular basis and quit hiding behind the "everything is fine" persona I liked to put forth. It's been 11 months since I made these positive changes in my life but by no means have they been easy. I've struggled harder in my journey with self-care and self-love than I ever did with the darkest moments of anxiety and depression. Maybe it's because I was finally actually feeling my feelings. Facing the scary, gritty, complicated emotions that I would typically numb with my bed, a movie, and NyQuil; sweeping it under the rug until the moment passed. There isn't a cute, sweet way to end this. I still struggle, I'll always struggle. I will forever wonder "what if I didn't take myself off the medication?" Maybe my ex would still be around. But that's the thing that's really messed up: I still think that way. But I need to know and you need to know we deserve someone that sticks around through the dark and twisty. We're worthy of love that is endless.

Anonymous