This has been a difficult article for me to write not just because it is a difficult and deeply personal topic but because it is difficult to put my thoughts into words. I would like to first say that my experiences are mine alone and while I think they are the step in the right direction for everything, my feelings are unique to myself. You must find what works for you.
Beginning my freshman year of high school and growing worse during my junior and senior years and into my freshman year of college, I was depressed. I didn’t like to say it then because it seemed to dramatic. I don’t like saying it now because it seems too dramatic. But that’s what it was. The key word, thankfully, being was. Since transferring to my new school and spending time on my own—away from familiar family and friends and even country—studying in Italy I have never been happier. Of course I still have things that get me down and bad days but my life is so wholeheartedly healthy and positive and the changes began with me.
My mental health issues were the deepest my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I lashed out and never was about to look at myself and my own actions before putting the blame somewhere else. I was negative about everything in life and couldn’t find the good in anything. It wore me down. Not only was my personality not fun for me or fun for others to be around, but I gained weight, I was tired all the time, and my motivation level for everything I did was practically nothing.
I saw posts online criticizing people for saying to “choose happiness.” I understand that this phrase may upset people but it is exactly what I had to do to cure myself. Of course I still have issues that I need to work through: I still regularly see a therapist and vent to my friends about silly, ridiculous things; I am not perfect. And yet, I am so so content—beyond content—I am happy with my life. Even when things do not go as planned I am happy.
If a friend is treating me poorly I try to see their side of the situation, if they still seem in the wrong—I move on or reach out. I have other friends and too little time to not address the issue. If something as simple as a driver cutting me off in traffic starts to annoy me I have to remind myself that they might be in a hurry because of an emergency, or otherwise they didn’t mean to make me angry. These are the little steps I took to turn my life around. I worked to transfer and cut out those people in my life who were negative forces and then I required myself to turn annoyances into nothing more than a minor blip in my life.
This is what has made me truly happy and what motivates the mind to turn negativity into positives!
My name is Meagan Donovan and I’m a 19 year old junior at Chapman University in Southern California. I am double majoring in theater studies and public relations/advertising, emphasizing my studies in the entertainment industry. A fun fact about me is that I’ve been performing since I was in third grade and I love writing my own songs, playing guitar, learning new dance forms, and acting in plays and musicals.