Column: Why I decided to open up about my mental health struggles now

For the last month, I have been repeatedly asking myself two questions: “Why is this happening to me? How did I get to this place?”

I don’t have concrete answers for either of them — at least not yet — but I continue to come back to those two questions in hopes they lead me to a better place.

I have been struggling with my mental health. I have been struggling with dealing with my anxiety attacks. Simply, I have been struggling to find a lot of happiness in this world.

It hurts. It sucks. It’s painful. It’s like being trapped in a bad nightmare and whenever you can start to see something positive, all the negative energy and thoughts resurface to the forefront.

For most of my life, I have been a “happy” person who hasn’t had to deal with anything seriously related to mental health. When the topic of mental health ever came up, I would always say to myself, “I won’t ever feel like that in my life.” I thought I was invincible of feeling powerless of my emotions and feeling lost in this world.

How wrong I was to think that.

Previously, I didn’t fully understand or grasp how important mental health really is. I didn’t think it would ever affect me, so I didn’t engage in meaningful conversations regarding the topic.

Now, I wake up feeling unmotivated to do anything that day. I stay in bed longer than I should. I go to bed at night with my mind filled with negative thoughts and emotions. Every night I fight the urge not to cry. Most nights I’ll randomly wake up crying and despondent.

It hurts. It sucks. It’s painful.

I never used to be like this. I used to wake up excited to tackle the day ahead. I used to go to bed with positive thoughts and ready to take on any challenge the next day will have to offer me. But all of that has changed now.

I don’t know exactly what led me to feel like this, but I do know that it hurts. The worst part about all of this — feeling lost and scared for the last month — is being alone in this fight. I have been too embarrassed to really open up about my feelings to anyone. That’s why when people have been asking me, “how are you,” I respond with, “I’m fine.”

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I just don’t want to trouble them with my issues because why is something I’m going through more important than what someone else might be going through?

There are times where I try to build the courage to approach my family and spill my guts to them, but I’m never able to reach that final hurdle. So, when I spend time with my parents or anyone else in my family, I put on a fake smile to make sure they don’t sense that there is anything wrong with me.

Then, when we are done spending time together, I’ll go back into my room and that smile is wiped off my face. All that pretending I did for a couple of hours went away. I go back to searching for answers to my problems, even though I end up with nothing at the end of the day.

It’s a constant cycle of pain and misery. I try to tell myself that everything will be better soon and that I’ll return to a “normal” state soon. But I’ve been telling myself that for a month now — and nothing has changed yet.

I wish I could guarantee that tomorrow I’ll snap out of all of this and everything will be okay. I wish I could guarantee that I’ll no longer go to bed fighting the urge to cry. I wish I could guarantee that I won’t wake up in the middle of the night crying. I wish I could guarantee that I’ll once again be a “happy” person every day.

But I can’t guarantee any of that. I now know that mental health is a battle that lasts longer than a couple of days. It’s part of a longer journey into finding some inner peace and happiness.

I hope that one day I’ll find the courage to tell my parents what I’m going through. And I hope that I get answers to the questions I have as to why I’m feeling like this.

Until then, that battle and fight continues.