My name is Alexis Masloski, I am 22 years old, and I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was 14. I always overlooked my mental health. I grew up in a loving and generous family, and I had everything I needed. I thought I needed to suck it up or hide my struggle, and be more grateful for the life that I have. But when I would reach really low points, I felt like there was no way out. I would get this empty, heavy feeling in my chest like an emotional wound was being ripped open. And this feeling would always follow with the words, “What is wrong with me?” I was lost, felt alone, and didn’t know why this feeling kept returning time and time again. I didn’t have the tools to get myself out of a funk, and I would take part in self-destructive behaviors that would last for weeks or months.
In 2022, I could no longer put my mental health on the back burner. My emotional bank account was well overdrawn, and my battery was running on low all of the time. Doing the small things like brushing my teeth turned into mountainous tasks to accomplish. I attended a mental health discussion put on by Jake and We Can Movement, and I was so anxious when it was my turn to speak that I just cried. That was a turning point for me when I realized I needed to seek help. I had never shared my struggles to anyone, and it was really hard to be vulnerable. At first, I pushed the people away who wanted to help. I would make my struggles seem insignificant because I knew others were going through harder challenges.
My journey toward self help was thanks to many people in my life who loved me and wanted to see me reach my highest potential. From family and friends to my workplace to even strangers, I was surrounded by love and support. I opened up to more people about my struggles, and I was guided to many avenues that aided in my healing. Things like the mental health talks, getting vulnerable with friends, spiritual healing, spending time in nature, therapy, journaling, and more. But the most important thing I did to jumpstart my journey was admitting that I needed help and telling others that I was struggling. It is probably one of the scariest parts, yet it is the most crucial step. Throughout my journey, I realized that I needed to cultivate a deep relationship with myself. I had to find ways to nurture myself in loving and caring ways through the low points. It’s easy to be your own worst critic, yet you would probably never talk to a friend or your younger self in the same way you talk to yourself. Be the parent/friend you always thought you needed. Someone who listens to your struggles, and doesn’t judge. Someone who stands up for you when your boundaries have been crossed. Someone who nurtures and loves you no matter where you are at in life. There is no one-size fits all solution, so keep searching for and applying the tools that help you when you are down. Your struggles are just as valid as anyone else, and you deserve to be heard and to find a way out.