The Renegade Rip

Learn from past mistakes and grow

Christina+Benavides
Christina Benavides

Christina Benavides

Christina Benavides

Christina Benavides, Copy Editor

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I’ve learned a lot about myself within the past few years of dealing with mental illness, but the mistakes I made along the way are what I want to elaborate on.

As a teenager, I honestly didn’t understand what was going on with myself. I remember engaging in unhealthy forms of self-infliction because I thought I deserved it. At the time, I wasn’t searching for a way to get better. I only consumed social media that fed my depression, such as media directed toward people who are dealing with mental health issues. It was a huge influence on me.

During this time, I lost many people. I distanced myself from close family and friends. I was moody daily. I took it out on others around me because I didn’t feel like I had someone to go to.

As an adult now looking back on who I was then, I feel guilty for how I treated myself. I resorted to hurting myself thinking it would solve my problems or make me feel better. It didn’t. Any kind of mistreatment to yourself doesn’t make things better. I’m not too harsh on myself though because it was hard to deal with every day, and it still is. I do believe that I could have tried something to prevent it.

I also dealt with an eating disorder for quite some time. I think most people assume you have to be skinny to have an eating disorder. You don’t. You can be any weight and be dealing with one. I still deal with unhealthy food habits. I treated my body like it already had a tombstone. I thought that if I starved myself then maybe I would be worthy of something that I wasn’t before. That’s something I regret to this day for many reasons.

One reason I want to mention is connected to a friend that I had in high school who committed suicide. She was the reason I wanted to recover from mental illness, and is a constant reminder of what could have very well been myself due to my poor mental state. It was really strange because when I found out about her suicide, I was dealing with severe suicidal thoughts. I can genuinely say that I could have killed myself that year.

I believe my friend felt alone. When you deal with a mental illness it can be hard to believe that people actually care about you, even if they repeatedly tell you so.

My friend’s suicide had me shaken up. It terrified me. It made me think about my own life.

I remember thinking, “Am I going to end up like this if I keep doing this to myself?”

When I got into college, my depression and suicidal thoughts were hard to control. I lost interest in school and interacting with friends and knew I needed change.

I wish I could go back and tell myself to take mental health breaks because I didn’t even know I was allowed those during this period. How sad is that? I thought I was so worthless that I didn’t want to give myself the time to just breathe.

Now, my time management is better. I’m always reminding myself to do small things to keep my happiness lively. I know what to do when I’m under distress, and this all was learned through my experiences. Sadly, it has taken me a few years to realize my self-worth and notice how much damage I caused myself, but I think I’m the strongest I’ve ever been.

If you take anything from my mistakes and regrets; let it be to always make your health and well-being a priority. You can make mistakes. However, grow and learn from them to improve your mental health state.

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Learn from past mistakes and grow