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Breaking Expectations: The “Ah-ha” moment

Breaking Expectations is staff writer Danielle Allsop’s firsthand experience living with mental illness.

It seems like more and more national publications are introducing their readers to the reality that one in four Americans suffers from some type of mental illness, with one in seventeen suffering from a severe form, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Last week, I picked up my monthly issue of Cosmopolitan from my mailbox, thinking I’d maybe learn how to make an at home bikini wax out of leftover candles. But to my surprise, an entire page was dedicated to a woman who shared her struggles of dealing with severe depression, and how it affected her relationship with her

Though I’m not married, nor am I close to being married, the thought of finding a partner, even a friend, who knows my faults (specifically my anxiety and bouts of depression) and accepts them, terrifies me.

I’ve always been hesitant to let people into my life because I’m afraid of the judgment that will come along with it. Even if you’ve “proven” that you’re not that type of person, I’m afraid you’ll abruptly leave my life, taking my secrets with you.

Those who can nonchalantly let people in and share their deepest, darkest secrets with acquaintances have always fascinated me. To be so confident with yourself and your past is a difficult thing to attain. Maybe it’s something you’re born with.

The most important thing is to be okay with who you are. As cliché as it sounds, until you accept yourself, including your talents and faults, you won’t be able to completely open up to those around you.

The author of the Cosmo article had an epiphany after going off of her medication while pregnant.

“That experience finally made me accept that depression didn’t make me defective — it was just part of who I was,” she said.

Sometimes, it takes an “Ah-ha” moment to realize who you really are, and be okay with it. Though I haven’t had that moment yet, I’m working everyday to figure it out.