A Work In Progress
When Connor told me about his project, I was amazed by how much momentum Project Pilgrim had gained. Connor had asked me to write a blog post about my views on mental health. I had originally denied to do so once I saw the other posts.
I saw the posts were personal and public. I denied to contribute because I have not really told anyone about my own mental health issues—only one other person. I was afraid that people would see me differently because of what I have been going through for most of my life. The stigma of mental health has kept me from being vocal about my own experiences despite working in mental health advocacy myself.
His project has made me reflect on my own challenges with mental health which I have never told anyone about. I have kept it to myself out of fear of what others would think of me or say. My concerns were that they would not understand, they would tell me “it is all in your head” or that things will get better. Being someone that has always strived to be his best and with external pressure to continue striving, I feel that admitting my suicidal thoughts to others would show a flaw in my capabilities.
These thoughts have been with me ever since I can remember (since elementary school). I thought they were normal and figured everyone has gone through this. Recently, I have pursued professional help with these thoughts. They are triggered or exacerbated during moments of intense stress such as poor grades, self-doubt or relationship issues. When things are going well then I can make it through the day without doing something drastic. The other days though, I wonder if this drive home will be my last.
The professional advice has helped me reflect and evaluate my triggers and develop coping mechanisms. But it is still a work in progress. I have fallen in and out of care due to school demands and extracurricular activities. I still work to maintain a positive image for my peers and family—but they can see through it some days.
This post isn’t a full description of my suicidal ideation but is as a brief (and public) admission of my current mental health status—in progress. I have chosen to remain anonymous because I am still not ready to let people know what I am going through. Through this post, Connor is now the second person that I have told.
Observing Connor and all the incredible things that he has done has motivated me to make this post. This is one further step to addressing my challenges and building myself a better tomorrow. I hope one day that I will be strong enough to put my name to my experiences. I hope this admission serves as some support to others that you are not alone.
- a fellow work in progress
About The Author:
The author of this post is a male University of Alberta student. They would prefer to remain anonymous.