• Kristina Cherep

3 Ways To Challenge Your Mental Health

This post was written by an incredible person from my high school. Although, our circles didn't really meet during high school, we have managed to come together this past year through my blog. She is courageous to share a little part of her story with you all and she also gives you a challenge to better your mental health! I truly appreciate her transparency. Without further ado, here is Cayla Marie's post!

Everyone has a back story and a past. It is what we’ve been through throughout our lives that mold us. But what if it isn’t the situations themselves that shape us, but rather, how we view them?

Have you ever felt so low, you cannot seem to get yourself up off the ground? So you lay there, hoping time passes by faster than it is capable of. Are there times when you choose to sleep as much as possible, in hopes that those few hours give you an escape from reality? Or have you ever canceled plans last minute because you do not want to muster up the courage to go outside and force a smile upon your face? Then you think…

“Will I ever feel happy again?”

I admit I’ve been a victim to these habits. There were times I felt so low, that I tried to end all the pain and thoughts in my head; an action that led me to inpatient. Two years after a suicide attempt, I am finally off medication! I no longer feel chained down by my anxiety and depression. My answer to how I got this far isn’t a “one size fits all method”, but I challenge you to try it on. I’ve had a remarkable support group that helped get me to where I am today, but there are 3 strategies I did myself, in order to get out of the hole I was in. Here it is, my one-month challenge to you.

  1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET, CHANGE YOUR LENS: At my school, our theme this year is to “Change your lens”. In other words, look at a situation through a different perspective. When a situation arises, instead of the negative talk or getting overwhelmed at how you’ll overcome it, think of it as an opportunity. A situation is an opportunity to find a solution, to overcome what you may not have had the chance to do, and to grow as an individual. Think solution-based, not problem-based.

  2. STICK IT TO EM: Tell at least one person a day, whether that be through a text, email, phone call, or post-it note, what they mean to you. It can be as simple as a quick thank you or compliment. This joy grows from one person to the next. It feels good inside, knowing that you have the power to make someone’s day. You never know when someone needs it.

  3. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: Every day, list off 3-5 things you are grateful for. I keep a journal next to my bed. Even on days when you just feel defeated, there is always something to be grateful for. For example, it can be as simple as, you’re breathing, you have friends and family that love you, sleep, and showers. Try to chose different ones each day. The more you do this, the more you will start to look at things with a grateful mindset, instead of an anxious one. Turn your mindset into one that does not take things for granted.

So my answer is, you will feel happy again. I have faith in that. Happiness is not a destination, but a journey and everyone’s journey has a different timeline. The way I see it is, joy is felt in a moment, and happiness is where you want to end up. I look at where I was and how I have risen above what I thought was me. I am not depression. I am not anxiety. I try to create as many joyous moments as I can. I find joy in my job, my family, my friends, and where my journey has led me. All of this joy, has led me to being truly happy and grateful. I am grateful that my anxiety and depression allows me to truly understand my students on an emotional level. I am grateful that through my hardships, I have met friends that lift me up and have helped make me a better person. Nothing comes easy, and that is what is so inspiring when you can overcome your obstacle. Put away the negative habits, and bring forth new and positive ones. I challenge you.