The biggest "change" i can recall is that i have become more comfortable with talking about my vulnerabilities.
The moment that created this is still clear in my head.
I was always ashamed of my anxiety. Before i even understood the word anxiety, i thought i was pathetic, or wimpy, and i wanted to be anybody else.
I would cover up my social anxieties with a smile, and force myself into uncomfortable situations without letting people know how difficult it was for me. I was doing this to push myself out of my comfort zone, yes, but i was also teaching myself it is NOT ok to be ok, and you have to fight it or hide it.
I had reached a breaking point my junior year. I was missing weeks of school and my grades were going down. I was bedridden, and i never left my house. I knew this problem would just keep turning, and i needed help.
Getting me to talk about my anxieties was like pulling teeth. It was as if the second a word was spoken, something incredibly awful would happen. I was stuck between wanting help, and being fearful of asking for it.
As I mentioned briefly in my about section, writing was where this communication all began. I remember one of my first blog posts was a list of things that were creating anxiety/fear for me. I remember sitting with my school social worker and handing her my phone. As i was sitting there my mind was racing at the fact that she was reading MY WORDS, she was looking into MY MIND. I was just waiting. I waited for her to finish, and i waited to hear her reply.
After reading, i remember receiving compliments for the way that i write. I was confused. Uh..i just wrote that in 5 minutes and i did not proofread it, i was just venting.. From then on she would show me that i had a gift. With my writing, i could make people feel as though they are experiencing things through me. With my words, i was very insightful. That changed me. For someone to call me insightful. I have struggled with confidence in my intelligence my entire life. In elementary school (and even later) i was PETRIFIED of raising my hand or answering a question because unfortunately, kids then would tease those who were wrong. I had extreme anxiety with tests. My teachers would notice i would tense up at a very young age. I would second guess every single answer, and question my true knowledge. My test anxiety never brought me the best grades, and i let those numbers define me.
That was the first time i had someone tell me that I had a special gift with my anxiety, and not a crutch. That moment changed me because since then i have continued writing, and now i have more than just my social worker reading my posts. I have found a comfortable way for me to share my thoughts with others, and i have never felt so connected with myself.
It changed me as a person because it showed me another example of how i can use perspective in my life and use it towards my feelings about myself.
I challenge you to do that too. It doesn't have to be a mental illness. Any quirk, any insecurity, and doubt. I challenge you to get a new perspective and see the good that it has/could bring you.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.