For the past few months, I’ve been struggling to accept my mental illness diagnosis. Or maybe it’s not about accepting it, but learning that it doesn’t define me and regaining control of my life. I was sure that I was doing that since my diagnosis but what I was actually doing was pretending that I could go on as usual. I drowned myself with responsibilities. I worked full time as a teacher while going to school full time. There were days that I was up and working from 4:30 am until I got home around 10 pm. There were weekends where I locked myself in the office and worked 12 hours straight with the occasional bathroom break. What I didn’t realize was that I was doing all of this so I didn’t have to think about what was going on in my head. If I could feel busy and productive, then I could push away all the sadness and overwhelming loneliness. I wasn’t alone in the sense of not having anyone around, I was alone in my thoughts because I assumed no one understood. Eventually, everything caught up to me and once it did it become impossible to ignore. Basic life tasks that I had once done with ease became exhausting. Getting through the day became my only goal and everything else was just too much to handle. I didn’t have energy to be social or do things that I used to enjoy. I had to take weeks off work so that I could take care of myself. It took several appointments and medications to get me on the right path again. What I learned through it all was that I have a difficult time dealing with my issues. I push them away until they hopefully disappear. Except they don’t actually go away, those problems will always resurface until they are dealt with head on. Facing my fears and weaknesses was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I had to tell myself the bitter truth and some days I didn’t want to accept any of it. Other days I would push until it led to a breakthrough and I would feel like the most powerful woman alive, even after the tears that came from it. I’ve become addicted to that feeling. If I’m not living to be better every single day, it would be a disservice to the best version of me.