“I am not my distress”

I often feel lucky when I think about my mental health. I have never had thoughts of suicide or worthlessness, and my perpetual sense of inadequacy hasn’t prevented me from pursuing my goals. Though I don’t always utilize it, I have a support network to rely on when I am feeling upset. My anxiety is sometimes incapacitating, but only for a few hours at most, and only rarely. There are periods when my insomnia fades, and I can fall asleep most nights if I distract my thoughts with TV or books. I managed to survive my only serious bout of depression without talking to anyone about it until after the fact.
And this equivocating, this reduction of my problems in comparison to a theoretical “mentally ill” person, this is completely ridiculous. This is me avoiding the stigma of labels, and procrastinating on action to my definite detriment. This is me externalizing a problem and perpetuating misunderstanding.

By labeling myself and describing myself with the words that I want to, I hope to inspire others to get over their hang-ups and do the same. In response to my senior-year anxieties, I started to go to Counseling and Psychological Services and finally forced myself to see my anxiety as a problem that needed to be solved instead of tolerated. I may be distressed now, but I can finally imagine a future where I don’t have to be.