For the past three years, I have not been myself.
I've dealt with undiagnosed mental illnesses, massive weight gain, nonexistent self-confidence, insecurities secreting from my pores and a relapse into the hole that I had just gotten out of.
To the naked eye, however, you would have never known exactly what I was battling or that it would have been easier to self-destruct rather than to fight the battle I was losing for so long.
You see, I am an optimist — a blessing and a curse honestly. Things could be going horribly, but I would remember pain is temporary. My manic depression could be at an all time high, but I knew I could persevere.
I often wonder how I was able to comeback from all that has affected me in so many ways. How could I continue to keep pushing through when I felt all the buildings and walls falling down on me?
But eventually, I figured it all out. I like to call it my "Blue Print To Mental Jewels":
1. No pressure, no diamonds
I have been a fan of the saying, "No pressure, no diamonds," since I first heard a motivational speaker say it. And now, it still resonates in my head.
When times are tough, willpower is low, it's easily to let the pressure get to you and to run away and hide.
But obviously, diamonds can't be formed without intense pressure.
To embrace the hard times and face them head on, no matter how hard they hit you, gives you a unique sense of accomplishment, a sense that you can do anything and everything.
For me, one of the most powerful comparisons is to look back at old pictures and see the anguish in my eyes and body, as I tried to act happy while I felt like I was dying on the inside.
Granted, I can still sense the pain I was showing in those photos sometimes, as well as my thoughts on those exact days. But I always remind myself that having made it through those rough times is something for me to celebrate.
Having close friends or family around you during a rough time is vital to maintaining your strength. To lean on friends and family is not a sign of weakness, but rather, a sign of strength that you can acknowledge the fact that you can't always do it alone.
The years 2014 and 2015 were the hardest I have ever faced. But despite attempting to leaving this Earth several times, my support system was right beside me, and they kept me strong.
However, it is important to realize you can't solely rely on them to get you better — you have to want to get better for yourself.
3. A better tomorrow
My optimism has ultimately kept me alive. Each day for the past four years, I have told myself that today was rough, but tomorrow would be better. And even if it wasn't and even if tears were streaming down my face, I would still repeat that mantra to myself and maintain my optimism.
In the past, I have been closed off emotionally — numbing myself to any and all stimuli — but as I look back on how far I have come, I realize I have made it to my better tomorrow.
Staying strong isn't a trait many people have, especially when nothing seems to work or nothing seems to be going your way. But doing so can and will bring you happiness further down the road.
A better tomorrow may not come the next day, the next month or even the next year, but it will come. Stay strong, and pass it on.