If you're reading this, it's been a year.
My bipolar disorder almost took my life this year. Of all of the things that happened to me, I never expected to act on my suicidal ideation and end up in the hospital two days before spring break. This incident forced me to look at myself and grow.
My medication wasn't effective because of my substance abuse, I shouldn't have been getting drunk, let alone blackout. The self destructive pattern of looking for love almost destroyed me. I acted out on these impulsive behaviors as a way to normalize who I was. There were already so many things that stood out about me, I just wanted to fit in so much more. Recently, I thought about why, the girl who has it all, would sabotage herself in the worst possible ways.
That was exactly it. I put way too many expectations on myself to be the "girl who has it all". I tried so hard to fit what I wanted other people to perceive me as and constantly feeling like I had to put on a facade just to be liked and accepted. It's heartbreaking and exhausting coming to the realization that many of your actions and behaviors are done out of the intent for someone else, not for yourself. And when I didn't meet these impossible expectations, it was disastrous. I bullied my mind, called myself horrible names, and treated myself worse than my own worst enemy had.
When I stepped back to look at myself and really look at myself, I began to marvel at who I was. I am the girl who can book a rotunda room five days before an event. I'm the girl who can make so many people laugh just by being me. I'm the girl who is very emotional with any situation. I'm the girl who just wants acceptance. I need to accept myself. And I think I'm beginning to.
It has been a year of challenges and triumph and heartbreak and love. I've started to embrace my unique circumstances and treat them accordingly. I'm getting to a place where I'm not pushing myself down nor am I placing myself on a pedestal. I'm not trash or a superstar, I'm just Alex Smith-Scales. I'm pretty great, but like everyone else I have things I need to work on and it's ok if my healing process isn't perfectly linear. It will take time and conscious thinking, but it will be incredibly worth it. Somehow, I've realized that I have the best support system in the world and people that love me. I think it's time I start to do the same.
If you're reading this, be patient with yourself.
Alex S., University of Virginia