2024- Awardee – Morgan Boring – Maple Mountain HS

Mar 26, 2024

Mental Health Warrior

“This girl is a warrior! She’s been through so much these last 4 years, some days I wonder if we made the right choice moving to Utah. She’s experienced hurt and humiliation and rejection more than anyone should ever endure, yet through it all, she’s still here.” My mom, who I love so dearly, shared this about me, after I completed my second round of intensive outpatient therapy last winter. With the support of many doctors and therapists and, most importantly, my family, I am still here.

I was diagnosed with high-functioning depression and anxiety in the winter of 2022. If asked to describe it, I’d tell you I’m a lonely extrovert. Some days, it got to the point where I didn’t want to be alive. Other times, I felt so much pain, I believed that the only way to relieve it was through self-harm. Yet, I am still here. And, more importantly, I now know I WANT to be here. Mental health can be, and in my case is, extremely serious. Depression has the potential to be a debilitating illness. I’ve never broken a bone or been hospitalized for a physical illness, but dealing with mental health challenges every day impacts me much more than people notice or realize. No matter how terrible or insignificant I’m feeling, I need to keep going.

The difficulty with mental health is that it’s not obvious. Mental health is about how people may act or feel internally. It is not necessarily anything that can be seen. Additionally, it’s ongoing, which makes it extraordinarily challenging to live with. A broken bone heals within a month or two, whereas depression is a lifelong illness requiring conscious effort and skills to manage. Some days are good. Other days, not so much. Your entire mood can change as a result of the way someone talks or doesn’t talk to you. It can change with the way people respond or don’t respond to something. It may just be a bad day for no specific reason. But, no matter what the cause, you still have to decide how to manage it.

I choose to keep pushing forward, oftentimes pretending to be alright, despite knowing very well that I’m not. The things people say or do can hurt. I’ve had to learn to not listen or care. It’s a lot harder than I thought. It takes diligent effort to reframe things in my mind and manage my emotions. It’s hard to not get invited to a party and still believe that some of these people are your friends. It’s difficult to play on a team that you don’t feel connected to. It’s isolating to go to school knowing that you’ll likely eat lunch alone. Yet, I am still pushing through. I have learned to focus on my successes, no matter what challenges I face. I’m recognizing the effect that my words may have on those around me. I’ve learned to trust my family, but more importantly, myself. I’m learning to love myself just how I am because the true me is the best me I can be.

I know I want success. I know I have a future ahead of me, and that’s why I keep on going. When I get to a really down spot, the coping mechanisms I’ve learned during the years of therapy I’ve been through help me. I am able to push forward. Sometimes, it’s something simple like doing my math homework. Other times, it’s taking a nap. One of my favorite coping mechanisms is box-breathing. No matter what, I keep working toward my long-term goals and remember how far I’ve come. I want to go to college. I want a family. I want to be successful. No matter what lies ahead, I intend to keep going. I intend to finish my life journey as best as I know how.

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