It took me a long time to recognize my mental health struggles and the role that addictions were playing as a coping mechanism. For many years, I was consumed by anxiety and depression, but I managed to hide it from most people in my life. Not only did I lack the words to explain exactly how I felt, but there was also this internal shame that kept me from seeking help.
When things got worse, however, I began relying more and more on drinking alcohol and using drugs to escape my feelings. I thought things were under control and that things would stay relatively the same; however, my use of substances began to spiral out of control before too long. After months of denial, I finally hit a breaking point where I knew enough was enough and I needed help.
The process of recovery has been difficult but there have also been some successes along the way. One of the biggest accomplishments for me has been getting honest with myself about why these substances were so appealing in the first place…and why they no longer will be. Through therapy, self-reflection, and personal growth I’ve come to understand why my issues started and accepted that addiction does not define who I am as a person.
I’m nowhere near being healed entirely; in fact, there are days when it feels like nothing will ever change but each day is an opportunity for improvement - on bad days those improvements might be small, but on good days they can seem big. By taking responsibility for myself and accepting support from those around me, I’m slowly learning how to live with mental illness without relying on intoxication or other forms of avoidance.
I hear you and understand how difficult it can be to accept mental health struggles and cope without the use of addictions. I’m glad that you reached out for help when things got worse, that takes a lot of courage - so congratulate yourself for taking that first step towards improving your circumstances.
I think it’s also really commendable that you worked on understanding why these substances were so appealing in the first place and have accepted addiction does not define you as a person. That sounds like a huge accomplishment! And believe me when I say no matter what size the accomplishments are, small or big, they are still accomplishments so celebrate them all.
Life is never linear and sometimes we will take two steps forward only to feel like we take three back again but don’t forget taking responsibility for ourselves and accepting support from those around us can be invaluable during this journey. I’m here if you ever need to talk or need someone to share your successes with.
I can relate so much to your story. Being 22 myself, I often find it hard to talk about issues that I’m dealing with, or even just trying to figure out what exactly is wrong. It’s taken me a long time to start coming to terms with how I feel and why those feelings seem so overwhelming. And just like you said, there have been days where everything feels impossible, and other days where even small accomplishments can be huge victories.
It sounds like despite all the struggles you’ve faced, you’ve been able to look for the little moments of joy in life and recognize that addiction doesn’t define who you are as a person. That’s incredibly inspiring and gives me hope knowing that recovery isn’t only possible but worthwhile! Keep being brave and holding onto those small successes, because over time they will add up to make something big. You matter and your struggle has value - keep believing in yourself!
I can relate to your experience with mental health struggles and addiction. I know too well the overwhelming anxiety and sense of shame that comes with wanting to keep it hidden. Your story is so powerful - recognizing when you were no longer in control of your substance use and seeking help is incredibly brave.
It’s so admirable that you’ve taken the time to reflect on why substances were appealing to you, as well as accepting that addiction doesn’t define who you are as a person. The recovery process can be extremely challenging and difficult at times, but it is possible to make changes for the better if we strive for them every day. Even when things seem like they will never improve we can draw strength from knowing that even small improvements have been made.
The journey of recovery will be different from one person to the next, but by holding onto hope and seeking support from those around us we can push ourselves towards better mental health each day. Wishing you all the best on your journey!