Written by QCMHA Publications Coordinator Rebecca Pin
Throughout life, I was the type of person no one thought twice to worry about. From the outside, I had it all together; I got good grades, was varsity volleyball captain, always spent my time with friends (you get the gist). But I inwardly struggled with loneliness. Feeling the need to keep up with the life I built for myself exhausted my limits. I knew from this exhaustion that burnout was around the corner, but to my surprise, my world turned upside down in an instant. In high school, I got the news that my mom was diagnosed with cancer; I was truly shaken. My emotions failed to process as I could not bear the prospect of losing my primary parent. I was tasked with fight or flight, and though I was exhausted from my life, I had no choice but to fight. I maintained those grades, dropped out of sports, and took on a job throughout this battle. Doing everything in my power to stay vital for my family through selflessness was the hardest thing I have ever done, taking a severe toll on my mental health; feeling emotionally numb and despising the thought of getting out of bed made me unrecognizable to myself, losing my sense of purpose.
It wasn't until a friend explained that it is ok to prioritize yourself when it all clicked. Discovering that it is healthy and normal to self-prioritize has been my life's most significant learning curve. The biggest hurdle I had to face was setting aside guilt from doing things for myself. When I began to learn that caring for myself improved my overall well-being, I decided to make myself a priority. Since then, I have been able to self-manage my anxiety and better understand what I need in situations. I then began to make time for myself throughout the week and find time to be with friends, achieving a healthy balance.
Finding self-compassion resulted in figuring out how much I could take on, learning my limits, and finding myself again. I realized that the more I cared for myself, the stronger I became and the more present I was for friends and family. This journey taught me to be grateful for every moment of life, good and bad. Having a positive outlook on everything I encounter has genuinely changed my perspective and appreciation for life, propelling me to reflect and be mindful to live in the moment.