For the past couple of months, I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety. My depression and anxiety was more manageable when I had my extracurriculars; theater and sports. The pandemic had an impact on my mental health, as I’m sure it did with a lot of people. I’ve spent a lot of time with myself and I had a hard time with it. It’s very hard to go from a toxic and abusive environment to a nurturing one. I struggled to accept it, I thought that I didn’t deserve it. I thought that I was nothing without my mental illness. My friends had seen the functioning version of myself and that version was struggling not to give up. How could I let go of my depression if it seemed like the only thing people wanted from me. It wasn’t a dramatic shift at first but I started to take care of myself more, with the help of my dad. I started to rediscover my old hobbies. I rewatched some of my favorite shows and movies. I was still depressed but it didn’t seem as such a heavy weight anymore. Before I knew it summer was over and it was already September. My dad met up with an old friend and we talked. I started to feel better after talking with her. She had been in a similar situation with an abusive parent. She helped me see that it wasn’t going to be hard forever. It was small changes in my thinking that made me love myself more. I didn’t hate my reflection and I started working out more for me. I found some media that I related to which helped me a lot. It made me feel less alone. There’s been ups and downs—there still is—but it’s not as hard as it was. I started some passion projects (ex: this blog!) and I feel like I can smile now. It sounds pretty cheesy but it’s true. When the pandemic ended, I wasn’t able to go to an event that was pretty important to me. It crushed me. I’m still sad that I missed out on it but new and exciting things are happening for me. And I can’t wait. Being able to truly love yourself, to truly smile, and to be excited for now is really hard. And there are still times that it is hard. But it won’t always be hard and it won’t always be like this.