The Beginning

I’m not a professional blogger, writer, or anything in between. I’m just a normal 24 year old gal with a whole lot of back story and a voice to match.

My mental health journey began when I was just in middle school, when I began self harming and seeing the school counselor and a therapist. Since then I’ve seen numerous amounts of therapists, I’ve done inpatient and outpatient, and began taking medications for my anxiety and depression. With all of that going on I forget to appreciate my accomplishments: I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BFA in acting, despite being diagnosed with panic disorder at the time. I am a loving daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, and friend. I am capable of holding down a seasonal job in a fashion showroom.

I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat anything here, I’m in a very awkward phase of my life. I’m working through some PTSD on top of all my other mental disorders and it’s off-putting. It’s hard. Some days I feel like talking about it. Some days I feel completely numb. Some days I feel like crawling up in a ball and crying all day. Some days I want to eat. Some days I don’t. Some days I want to self harm again. Some days the thoughts are amplified to the scariest degree. But through all of those days, despite it being awfully fresh; I am still here.

And through this amazingly unpredictable emotional ride I still have things that I’m looking forward to in life. I’m looking forward to going to graduate school and getting my master’s in counseling/therapy. I’m looking forward to getting married. I’m looking forward to having kids of my own one day. I’m looking forward to inspiring and helping. I’m looking forward to destigmatizing mental health. I’m looking forward to creating and collaborating. I’m looking forward to conquering these thoughts that I fight with daily.

I’m not perfect, I can’t promise that this will be all sunshine and rainbows. But I can promise that this will be real and honest. Happiness may be a choice but it’s not an easy choice to make when your default setting is anxiety or depression. All I can do is try. Try to live my happiest, healthiest life; whatever that means to me. And all YOU can do is try. Try to live YOUR happiest, healthiest life; whatever that may mean to YOU. This is a journey that I’m still on and will probably be on for the rest of my life. But that doesn’t mean that I’m losing or that I’m behind. It just means that my journey is different and will always be different and that’s fine because who wants to be life everyone else. Embrace YOUR journey.

Here’s to the butterflies xx,

Shavana

Shavana Clarke