It was the first time in my life I had decided to put my mental health first – to change everything around me to prioritise my happiness. And while I didn’t know it yet, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
I had been at a university, one that was absolutely beautiful and one that became the place I made my friends that I now hold dearest. From any viewer’s eye, I should have been perfectly happy, but I quickly realised I was not. I didn’t feel like myself, I’d want to spend my days in bed and I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. At the time, I remember thinking I would just suck it up – this was my life now, I’d get through three years and then maybe, I could find my way again. Changing things wasn’t even in my realm of possibilities.
Luckily for me, all that changed. “You should drop out!” said my mother, when I finally broke down about how I was feeling 3 months in. I had held it together as long as I could but sometimes, one question from your mom is all you need to tear down the water gates. Drop out? How was that an option? What will I do instead? What will people think?
To her the answer was simple –“Well you aren’t happy right? Let’s fix that first, everything else will follow” A simple idea, but how revolutionary.
And that’s what brought me on the flight. On my way home, having packed all my things and said my goodbyes, I was now officially a college drop out.
It’s been three years now, and I write this sitting in a new country, in my favourite city that I now get to call my second home. I got to go to a new university that I absolutely love on a scholarship – something I never thought I had the potential to achieve. I got to make new friends, see new places and feel passionate about what I study.
That’s not to say that it was never difficult. Some of my worst battles with mental health came after that flight, because mental health is a constant battle. But those days passed, like they always do, and got replaced with the days of contentment and joy I get to experience now, each battle having made me just a little bit stronger than before. I learnt to build love for myself and choose what I wanted from life. Against all the doubts and anxiety I had on that flight home, things did get better, much better than I imagined at the time.
One simple yet revolutionary decision to put myself first, and choose my own happiness, changed my life.
Feature Image: Pixabay @SerenaWong