TIFFANY MELTON: MY MENTAL HEALTH

I've posted blogs about my battle with my mental disorders before, I've talked endlessly to others about my depression, but it wasn't until recently that I have finally been honest with myself for the first time since I was originally diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety at 16. In the last six years, I spent much, if not most of the time being bitter and in denial. It wasn't fair. I didn't do anything to become depressed. I didn't choose it. I don't think I'm the only one who couldn't grasp it, as my parents raised a daughter that was known for her never-ending smile and bright outlook on life. They didn't ask for my depressed outbursts and emotional instability. I was spunky, positive, athletic, smart, overly kind. I'm still that girl, just sometimes my depression heavily masks it. It turns me into someone I don't like and don't know. 

Of course I was told it was a chemical imbalance, that I inherited it, but I also was told I would never outgrow it. It was with me for life. None of those things I wanted to accept, and I didn't. Being in denial was the worst decision I could have made. Not only has it caused me to go into periods of deep depression because of my lack of ability to manage and completely recognize the depression, but it has also pushed me to make numerous negative decisions out of extremely low self confidence, a lack of self worth, and a lack of self respect. But the worst part, is what I've lost. And it took my recent loss, the biggest loss I've faced so far in my life, to finally accept who I am, and to face it without hostility. I was forced to harshly evaluate myself, to see the girl I was when I was depressed and not helping myself. I was angry, I was sad, I couldn't control my emotions, and I hated myself. I took all of that mental anguish out on those closest to me. 

All it would have taken to avoid pushing someone I loved away, was for me to have stopped convincing myself I didn't have depression anymore. But I do, and I always will. It's been a part of who I am since I was 16. What I can do going forward is make managing my depression an everyday habit in my life. This means doing things that make me the best version of myself and things that make me happy. This means learning to gain true confidence. To be able to love myself with no forced or fake confidence and love. 

As big of a mental health advocate I've been, I was making the biggest mistake myself. While I recognized I have battled these disorders, I wasn't truly owning the fact that they were a dominant part of my life and forever would be. And that is completely and totally okay.