‘Treating mental health is more a PRIVILEGE than a CHOICE.” Woman battle self worth urges, ‘Your circumstances don’t define you’

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“The darkness is always present, we just can’t see it until the light goes out.

So, we fight for the things that illuminate life. We fight for hope and healing, but healing is messy, and when the fight becomes too heavy we welcome the darkness like an old friend.

Depression doesn’t have an aesthetic. Sad girl vibes are trending, but this isn’t a fad. When the average therapist costs as much as a new car payment, it becomes clear treating mental health is more of a privilege and less of a choice. So, we advocate that #MENTALHEALTHMATTERS… and it does, but making something matter and making it accessible are two different things.

I don’t know what’s worse, convincing yourself you’re okay, or acknowledging you’re not and having no resources to turn to.

Woman walking on beach
Courtesy of Raquel McCloud

It’s why people self medicate. Drowning your demons in a bottle or numbing the pain with narcotics is both cheaper and more accessible than a good doctor, holistic medicine, organic produce or quality supplements. But drugs and alcohol aren’t a person’s only options… some become addicted to sex, work, perfectionism, social media, or general busyness… anything that is a distraction from the turmoil within.

I know, because I was the broken child looking for an escape. By 13 years old, I was shooting homemade moonshine and cheap liquor. By 13 years old, I was swallowing unidentified pills by the handful and smoking weed from boys with ulterior motives.. By 13 years old, I was sexually active both by choice, coercion and force. By 14 years old, I was pregnant and looking for a healthier means to heal.

I speak from a place of knowing… knowing what it feels like to fight for joy in healthy and unhealthy ways.

So, what’s the solution? I wish I knew, because sometimes the darkness still consumes me, too. I can’t offer healing, but I can push hope and share what I do now when my light gets dim.

Affirmations: [af·firm·a·tion] /ˌafərˈmāSH(ə)n/

noun

plural noun: affirmations

emotional support or encouragement.

*Whisper these into a tear soaked pillow or scream them at the top of your lungs…

Despite circumstances, healing is an intentional choice I can make.
It’s okay to feel everything and nothing. Some days are like that.
This feeling is a moment of my life and will not last forever.
My worth is not determined by how well I hide my hardships. It’s okay to talk about it.

Actions: [ac·tion] /ˈakSH(ə)n/

noun

plural noun: actions

the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

*There is no quick fix but a step forward is a step forward…

Disconnect from social media and be intentionally present.
Let the sunshine touch your skin.
Eat + drink plenty of water.
Move your body.
Read something that offers relatability + hope: the Bible, a memoir, poetry, a good book.

Truths: /tro͞oTH/

noun

the quality or state of being true.

*Whether you can will yourself to believe it in the moment or not truth is constant so know this…

Your clothing size, weight, height, skin tone, eye color or any other physical attribute does not define your value.
Your account balance, savings, debt or financial status does not define your value.
Your job title, position or rank does not define your value.
Your follower count, likes or comments do not define your value.

You ARE enough. Your circumstances do NOT define you. Your mental health struggles do NOT negate your value. You CAN break generational cycles and intentionally choose to heal. One day at a time.”

woman with depression written on face
Courtesy of Raquel McCloud

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Raquel McCloud, of North Carolina. Follow her family journey on Instagram here and her website here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories by Raquel here:

‘Why do I feel inadequate? I was invited, requested. I’m the birth mom.’: Woman feels trepidation attending birth daughter’s graduation

‘Curvy women welcome, but ONLY if the curves are in the bust or butt.’ I would wear t-shirts over bathing suits out of fear someone would see my stomach and die of disgust on the spot.’: Mother advocates for body positivity, ‘You are perfectly imperfect’

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‘You’re not good enough! You’re alone! No one loves you or cares about you!’: Woman struggling with depression, anxiety says ‘I’m worth it’

‘We think you have depression.’ I felt like a freak. What would people say? I thought no one could ‘fix’ me.’: Woman becomes mental health advocate, ‘This is my purpose’

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