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Preventing Myself from Breaking

From childhood, I was taught that the way to success was education. Looking back on my teenage years, I worked so hard I made myself sick at times. I was careful who associated with, I obsessed over my grades and I even prevented myself from really dating in high school so I could spend all of my time "making it."

Education has been a blessing to me, to say the least. I've been able to be in social settings that were well outside of my reach when I was a kid and I've been able to build a comfortable lifestyle. What I didn't know, which took me years to realize, is how much "making it" would take a toll on my mental health.

At one point, I found myself in my late twenties extremely successful but on the brink of a mental health breakdown. I had spent all of my time studying, working and I took no time taking care of myself. At that point, I was about four years into my career and I hadn't taken a vacation or even a day off. I was broken and slowly crashing. Therapy saved my life!

Therapy was hard! Taking an honest look at myself is one of the hardest things I've done but it was the most rewarding! I needed to learn the difference between what was being inflicted by the world versus what was self-inflicted. Today, I am a better woman, professional and partner due to therapy.

I would like to encourage you to put yourself first and take some time to confront the things that make you unhappy in life... even if the issue is the way you treat yourself. Talking to a therapist can really change the way you see the world and the way you see yourself. Be brave enough to do what’s uncomfortable, to discover ways to create a life that is worth living. It may just be the one thing that saves your life.

With Love,

Val Barnett

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