This blog is in support of raising awareness for Mental Health, specifically depression, anxiety, self-doubt, and not fully loving yourself.
As a very select few of you know, I am one of the student leaders of a spiritual retreat my university hosts each year. Now before you get all anti-religion on me, this is spiritual rather than religious. We focus more on finding love in yourself and all around you. If you want a quick summary of the retreat, here is a blog about my response when I was first going on it last year: https://tengaged.com/blog/SmoothStalker12/8379451/a-reflection
However, the experience leading this retreat is so much more different than just being on it, and we haven’t even had it yet! This weekend was just a weekend getaway for the leaders to reflect together. Here is what I wanted to talk about:
Our team consists of 13 members. These people were narrowed down through a competitive process to ensure the best could be picked. The team is composed up off some of the most loved/loving people on campus, people who are so full of love, joy, and positivity to those around them. Think in your life of someone who just radiates love from their smile, and that is essentially everyone in my team. Everyone there is just so wonderful!! If you see us around campus, we are likely having a great time and enjoying life!
However, that is not the end. After reflecting and opening up together, there was one more thing that we all shared: terrible battles with mental health. The guy who has the kindest and warmest smile suffers from anxiety and depression. Our homecoming queen? Has struggled from self-doubt and finding love in herself since middle school. The girl who is so involved in raising money for the homeless? She tried to kill herself in high school.
And me? I am known as the kind and gentle listener of the group. Every interaction I have, my goal is to leave knowing I have improved the other person’s day by showing them some sign of love. But is that really all there is?
No. I was bullied throughout elementary and middle school until the point I became terribly afraid of even talking in classrooms or meeting new people. After being put down for so long, I struggled so much with self-love and developed severe social anxiety, which still weighs down on my chest each and every day. But would you expect this from my description above?
The moral of this story is that there are SO many people struggling in life and who have suffered in their own ways along the journey. Even the people who seem to radiate the most love have been at times in their life where they’ve felt no love, not even from themselves. NOBODY is alone in their battle. You might be wondering why all of us damaged people are leading this retreat. I truly believe it’s because we know what it’s like to be alone, feel depressed and frankly even hate ourselves, and we don’t want anyone else to feel how we all once, and may still, feel.
There is love all around us and inside of us, some of us just need more help finding it than others. Be that guiding light that someone in your life may need. If you’re in need of a light, you’re not alone. Mail me.
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