Hiya guys! I’m Brenna, and I’m from Vancouver, Canada. This will be my first time attempting to write out my mental health journey, briefly, in one place, and not in a journal, so bare with me!
From what I can remember, I was always an anxious child and that presented in many different forms. From an early age, I became very successful in sports and I prided myself in excelling in school, which subsequently developed in constant comparisons to others and my ‘perfectionist’ persona. I never ran into any serious mental health difficulties until I was about 15. I had lots of friends, did well in school, was at the peak of my athletic career and was born into an extremely supportive and loving family, and yet, at this point in time, with no warning, I became immensely depressed. I never felt like I was good enough, attractive enough, smart enough, etc.
I remember a time when I could not even say the word “depressed” because I thought if I did, everyone would be able to see right through me. Two suicide attempts later, trying to find the right medication and a therapist I felt a strong enough connection with, I was starting the process of accepting myself and being okay with it. Throughout this process, I transferred universities by moving across the country, changed my degree focus to psychology, found my passion and even a potential future career path in doing so.
After completing my degree in 2018, I intended to move to England for my MSc but I knew I wasn’t mentally or emotionally in a good place and instead, I was fortunate enough to have completed a year of dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and it was probably the best thing I have done for my mental health. It taught me so many skills in regard to my emotions and addressed misconceptions/myths that I convinced myself were true for so many years. Along with anxiety and depression, I also struggle with bipolar II disorder, which as hard it was to accept, turned out to be revolutionary. I did end up going to England and I am now I’m the process of competing my MSc in psychological science (from home).
I still often think: I wish I was making money like this person, I wish I was as smart as that person, this person looks so happy starting a family, that person is so in love, etc. Social media is a big reason for this. I used to compare myself daily against other women. I still find myself doing so on my hard days. Other women’s bodies I wish I had. Other women’s faces that I wish I had. I think it’s a natural reaction to compare ourselves to others however, it’s important to be mindful how often we’re doing this. Don’t judge your judgements, we’re only human. I have only been talking about my mental health openly for about 3 years, which is another area of worry: whether I’m doing enough, advocating enough, does not sharing enough make me a hypocrite, etc.
It’s a daily struggle but imperfection, quite frankly, is really the only option. Everyday we are told we aren’t good enough based on manipulation marketing. You are who you create yourself to be. The only opinion that matters is your own.