This I Believe: I Believe In Mental Health Awareness

Oct 10, 2019

Essayist Caroline Knightly
Credit WPSU

I believe in mental health awareness.

I believe that one cannot be physically healthy without being mentally healthy. Mental health has always been something I take very seriously. One’s emotions and mental stability can change their whole life, for better or for worse. And in doing that, it can change the lives of individuals around them.

After being diagnosed with anxiety in the summer of 2017, I was immediately put on medication and placed into therapeutic and psychiatric help. Once I started talking things through and getting used to my medication, I realized that this thing called “anxiety” had been living in me for longer than I thought. I always assumed it was normal to have trouble breathing before major events, while meeting new people, or in a situation of sadness or stress. It was what my mind and body were used to. Once I found myself not being able to leave my dorm room, excessively sweating through the night and losing my appetite, I knew that this had gone way beyond a small panic attack.

Unfortunately, I experienced another side of mental health, which led me to a lasting and deep depression. The most frustrating part was when people asked, “what’s wrong?” And I could never answer them. I didn’t know. So, I got back on the carousel and went back into intense therapy. I was so disappointed in myself for letting this disease take over. I knew this wasn’t who I was. I knew there was no reason for me to be feeling this way. The light at the end of the tunnel was bound to appear eventually.

With the support of my loving parents, I was able to recognize that life is full of challenges and obstacles, and it’s up to me whether I want to overcome them or not. My parents began to become more personal with me about their past. They let me know that what I was feeling was nothing abnormal. From their struggles, to others in the family experiencing the same issue, I didn’t feel alone anymore. Life became more of a gift than a burden. I began to understand that some people aren’t as fortunate as I am, having loved ones surrounding me and comforting me. I became more accepting of this disease and more aware of my capability to overcome it. I know that as I continue my journey in this world, everyday won’t be my best day, but now I have the tactics and the ability to help myself in the long-term through realization and understanding. I believe that without realizing the issue at hand and getting the help I needed, I wouldn’t have been able to continue my college career.

Today, I view mental health as one of the most important issues in society. It’s the people and the resources around you that can help to ensure your well-being, but it starts with you. Always remember, it’s okay not to be okay.

I believe in mental health awareness.

Caroline Knightly is a junior at Penn State studying communications and recreation, park, and tourism management.