My name is Kristine. I have my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and I work as a hairstylist and volunteer as a crisis counselor. I’m working towards becoming a mental health counselor. This is my story about my recovery from anxiety and depression.
About six years ago I was hospitalized for bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. The stress of my parents’ drug addictions, divorce, attempted suicides by my siblings and myself, the extreme lows of depression and intense highs of anxiety, being homeless, and my father being a violent alcoholic all contributed to my hospitalization.
I went back to school right after being hospitalized. I relapsed into severe depression, withdrew from everyone, and couldn’t get out of bed. I was resistant to talking to anyone about anything; I just wanted to disappear. How I thought about myself only made things worse. I was beyond critical of myself and would often berate myself about every little thing I did or said. I felt like a shell of a person who had nothing to offer.
About eight months after my hospitalization, I made the choice to help myself by seeing a therapist. I began to feel better and progressed from there. I learned how to utilize self-talk and self-awareness, identify cognitive distortions and catastrophic thinking. This helped me start going to class more and graduate with my friends. I starting reading self-help books, which is where I found some of the most valuable information. I began talking to my friends and family about what was so private and personal to me, and I was released from the power these thoughts had over me. This helped me build a support system with the people in my life. Now people come to me with their problems and tell me how insightful and supportive I’ve become, which continues to make me feel more confident with who I am and what I’ve been through.
Learning the importance of self-talk was life changing for me. Instead of making myself feel worse, I practiced talking to myself as I would speak to a loved one, like my sister. I’m so empathetic and kind to other people, yet I didn’t give myself that same courtesy. When my inner voice became supportive, sensitive, and kind, it helped me feel so much better and allowed me to develop more confidence in myself. Positive self-talk helps make my depression and anxiety more manageable by being able to talk myself down or out of it.
The message I would like to share with you is: push through your challenges and be kind to yourself. Change your inner voice from berating to loving and supportive. How you talk to yourself is vital and it has had an amazing impact on me. Be patient, it takes time and practice. I came this far and there is no way I went through all of that pain to not give myself what I deserve. Know your worth; it’s your journey so find happiness where you can until you reach your goals.